The highly acclaimed, time-bending, platforming puzzler originally developed for the X-Box 360 has been ported for PC users allowing more of us to enter its mind-bending world. If the price has been what is holding you back from jumping in to this surreal dream land then you will be excited to hear that for this weekend only, Steam are offering Braid with 66% off, which means that it's yours to download for a mere £3.39!
You take on the role of Tim, a young man searching for the princess he loves, who has been spirited away by a monster. You must travel through strange lands, collecting pieces of the jigsaw as you quest to recover what you have lost. Your relationship with the princess is unveiled gradually through cryptic, wistful passages read in books before each chapter. This ambiguous story-telling makes this a truly enigmatic tale with numerous possible interpretations but each seeming to burn with regret, guilt and unfulfilled hope.
Braid is a gorgeous and unique adventure. It contains plenty of platforming staples: you control a character as he runs and jumps through linear, 2D landscapes, bopping enemies on the head to destroy them and solving puzzles which allow you to progress. However you are also able to control time, allowing your actions to be “rewound”. This means that you may never truly die and therefore ensures the game offers a whole different kind of challenge from Mario et al. Death is not the obstacle but time itself. The manipulation of time is not a simple control feature; it takes many different forms, each more innovative than the last, and the very concept underpins the whole game and mirrors Tim's desire to undo his mistakes.
Few games look anything like Braid, the amazingly rendered artwork is like a hallucination inside a beautiful watercolour painting; enchantingly bright but never garish. The soundtrack blends well with this dream landscape, being elegant and delicate and responsive to your time bending shenanigans. Thankfully it plays just as well as it looks with simple controls, a seamless feel and very rewarding challenges. The puzzles are at times fiendishly tricky but all the more satisfying for it and once you have unpicked a knot, its logicality becomes obvious.
Braid has been praised by virtually everyone who has ever played it and it is not hard to see why. Everything is expertly crafted, from the words that you read, to the beautiful graphics, to the intricate and ingenious puzzles themselves. But, more importantly, this is a game that makes you think and feel; a game that may change the way you look at gaming and a game that will stay with you, long after you uncover the final, devastating truth of the tale. In fact the only real grumble I have ever heard directed towards this title is with regards to the heftiness of its price tag in comparison to its relative brevity. It is not a long title by any means and probably does not hold too much replay appeal. However at a special price like this, Braid is one foray into fairytale that no discerning player can afford to miss.