Graphics:
9.0
Gameplay:
9.3
Sound:
8.6
Control:
9.0
Replay Value:
8.0
Overall Rating:
8.7
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Hothead Games
Developer:
Number None Inc.
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Action/Adventure
Release Date:
November 12, 2009


It’s always easy to point to the PlayStation Network when one wishes to play some of the most original, artistically creative, and absorbing little video games on the planet. Many of them are exclusives but Jonathan Blow’s innovative and absolutely mesmerizing game was initially unavailable on the PSN, as it first debuted on the Xbox Live Marketplace way back in early August last year. But now, Hothead Games has finally delivered this gem to PlayStation 3 owners and once again, I’m forced to recommend one of the best downloadable productions of the generation. We’ve been doing this a lot lately but hey, developers continue to impress us with their ingenuity and the amount of polish they’re able to apply to these digital games. Besides, many are easy on the wallet – Braid is only $14.99 – and by now, you can really stock up on several memorable experiences for the price of one new, standard-priced retail release.

The very first thing you’ll notice about this game is its stunning artistic flair. It always appears as if you’re playing in a beautifully drawn painting of sorts; simply walking along with little Tim reminded me of the colorful storybooks from my childhood, and I was continually impressed by the gorgeous backdrops. One could argue that there isn’t a great deal of variety in the detail (i.e., there aren’t a whole lot of different enemies and I suppose some might call this artistic palette “washed out,” although that’s clearly the intent), but it would be a minor gripe. And when you place the ingenious level design atop these very pleasing visuals, you’re looking at yet another wonderfully appealing graphics presentation. It’s just not something you typically see, so fans of hand-drawn artistry in video games should be more than satisfied with this effort. Perhaps the perfect adjective here would be “endearing.”

Due to a fantastic soundtrack that fits the style and mood of the game, the sound also excels. We don’t have any voice acting to evaluate and the sound effects are mostly limited – we have a few crisp yet somewhat generic platforming effects to consider – but the music actually plays a larger role than usual. Why? Well, because it factors into the very gameplay; as we rewind time, the music plays backwards as well, and although this may seem like a trivial factor, it really isn’t. You’ll just have to play it to fully understand what I’m talking about. There’s also a mystical quality to the soundtrack and even a few of the sound effects that contribute to the general fairytale sensation that permeates the entire experience. In one way, I’m thinking a narrator would’ve been perfect for this well-conceived and even sensitive storyline; Trine had a great narrator that enhanced my enjoyment of the adventure, for instance. But it’s really a subjective design decision.

At first glance, there just doesn’t seem like there’s much to do in Braid . You simply start immediately without moving through a tutorial, learning about a prior history for the plot, or becoming accustomed to the various controls. Heck, if you bring up the Controls menu, you’ll see that little Tim – our industrious hero for this surprisingly emotional quest – you’ll notice that he can really only jump with the X button and grab items (like useful keys) with the Circle button. Ah, but all this only comprises the smallest percentage of the gameplay as the Square button – and corresponding L1 and R1 trigger buttons – will be the recipient of the vast majority of button presses. See, you can rewind time by holding down the Square button, and there’s really no limit to how far back you can go. Well, there is, but you could rewind to the start of the stage if you wanted to; the point is that the entire game is based around this mechanic. You not only avoid death in this way; you get your invaluable puzzle pieces in this fashion.

It’s a little difficult to explain, but you need to let your brain embrace the following concept: the past for Tim remains real, even if the environment you altered has changed. For instance, if you move a bridge after walking over it, Tim will walk back over it as if the bridge was there when rewinding time (‘cuz it was in the recent past). You also need to realize that Tim can carry items – like those keys I mentioned earlier – back in time with him, so if you fall all the way into this pit and grab a key, you just need to rewind and Tim will fly back upwards, key in tow. The point of the adventure is to gather all the puzzle pieces that will eventually make up a special painting that is part of the story. You may have to do some seriously strange things with time manipulation, all the time trying to understand exactly how everything works in every possible way. It can be insanely complex (especially later on), but that’s half t he fun. It can, however, get a bit frustrating.

Sometimes, you need to launch yourself off enemies and to make things even more difficult, you have to position those enemies in the correct spots via time manipulation. But when you consider that time effects Tim as well – whatever you just did, he will repeat backwards, of course – things get all the more intricate. There are some puzzle pieces that might just seem out of the realm of possibility but the more you play, the more you’ll come to grips with this unique concept. We’ve seen time alteration in games before, but never implemented to this incredibly detailed level of puzzle solving. I suppose I could complain that some of the enemies move too quickly and that some of the solutions are just plain obscure, but I have the feeling I just wasn’t smart enough to grasp everything correctly. And I’m willing to accept that. I do think there isn’t much of a reason to play through again and the game doesn’t last very long (especially if you get good), so a few of you may balk at that $15 price tag.

But for the most part, Braid is a great game that will force you to flex your mental muscle; in a way, it’s similar to something like echochrome , simply because you have to “bend” your mind into a certain shape before you can fully comprehend the skewed setting and premise. Our minds simply weren’t designed to work this way, which can almost be counted as a strike against this particular title…but I don’t wanna do that. It sounds far too much like whining and the bottom line is that we probably need more games like Braid . Even the story, which isn’t just about finding the princess, but rectifying a past wrong, is timeless and intriguing. The game is called “Braid” because when the princess turned away from Tim in scorn after Tim said some hurtful things, her braid hit him in the face. See? Artistic throughout. Many will appreciate it but don’t be surprised if you find yourself staring at the screen in utter consternation for long stretches of time…

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Superman915
Superman915
11 years ago

'only' 14.99?

It's a good game but c'mon. It IS a year old.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

14.99 with little to no reason to replay the game.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

meh

NoSmokingBandit
NoSmokingBandit
11 years ago

I played it on my mac and found it very "meh."
Its a cool concept, but it could have been done much better than it was.

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

Huh?

<goes back to Dragon Age>

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

haha

goodgamer
goodgamer
11 years ago

i dont knw if mi 5 and 4 year old would like this. im sure going download the demo

sonic1899
sonic1899
11 years ago

this game is a lot harder to complete than you think

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

Well, a lot of 360 owners bought this game. You would think this kind of game wouldn't appeal to gamers who usually love bloody and violent shooters filled with gore and guts. Yeah, I think the game is overrated but it has a lot of that nostalgic charm, great music and it's easy to beat but hard to conquer. I'm glad it finally arrived on the console that would appreciate this game the most: the PS3.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

That was rude. Didn't see anything too bad with his post. Sure, he generalized but many people do that. There wasn't any slander.

The Doom
The Doom
11 years ago

it was rude, but he does need to shut up. "I'm glad it finally arrived on the console that would appreciate this game the most: the PS3."
wtf? braid had about 500000 downloads on its debuts. on psn, its not even in the top downloads. not all xboxers are fps-crazed meat heads (i don't mean that in an insulting way)


Last edited by The Doom on 11/16/2009 11:35:29 PM

Kowhoho
Kowhoho
11 years ago

Well, Doom, I would respectfully suggest that YOU shut up. Don't take that the wrong way though, I'm just a little pissy all of a sudden.

The Doom
The Doom
11 years ago

why should i? dude says ps3 appreciates this game, yet i fail the see this game get the welcoming it deserves from psn. its still not on the top downloads. i'm no fanboy and i like braid and all, but his claim of appreciation is wrong and therefore he should stfu.


Last edited by The Doom on 11/16/2009 11:49:48 PM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Here's a thought. Don't tell people to "shut up."

Banky A
Banky A
11 years ago

The Doom.. lulwut..
Many many people on the internets should STFU but Kowhoho definitely isn't one =]


Last edited by Banky A on 11/17/2009 1:00:27 AM

Kowhoho
Kowhoho
11 years ago

Your comment makes me feel warm inside banky.

The Doom
The Doom
11 years ago

@ Banky A
that was for brighat1971 not Kowhomo <–not sure if i spelled it rite. my lights blew out…


Last edited by The Doom on 11/17/2009 4:01:50 PM

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

@ The Doom – Not trying to pick on you buddy, but what do you mean by "fail to see this game get the welcoming it deserves from psn?" I mean, how would you know?

Kowhoho
Kowhoho
11 years ago

Wait a minute… Kowhomo…..OOOOoooohh! I get it, I'm gay. How original.
And don't think I didn't notice I got two thumbs down for saying I'm feeling warm and fuzzy. I'm starting to think there may be some truly spiteful people hovering around this site.

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

Two thumbs down? You're upset over TWO thumbs down? Have you met LV? You've got a way to go my friend.

sonic1899
sonic1899
11 years ago

@Kowhoho
i didn't give you any thumbs down on that comment, but that's a weird thing to say. say it out loud to catch my drift 😛

Kowhoho
Kowhoho
11 years ago

Lol, yeah I've seen the kind of hate Limited Vertigo gets! I didn't really mean that last half I guess. And I get what you're saying sonic. (Made me laugh when I repeated it to myself.)

556pineapple
556pineapple
11 years ago

My housemate has this game on PC and it looks cool, but I see no need to buy it at the moment.

Kowhoho
Kowhoho
11 years ago

@ doom, above
Well, Psn has been host to many niche and downright odd games; that's why one might expect ps3 owners to "appreciate" it more. He complemented the game, gave a minor jab at xboxers, and said ps3 owners would enjoy it. Nothing to hey antsy about.


Last edited by Kowhoho on 11/16/2009 11:59:42 PM

just2skillf00l
just2skillf00l
11 years ago

I thought the game was pretty cool. I just wished it would have lasted longer…Oh well tomorrow Assassin's Creed 2 and GOW collection are mine! But what should I play first…That's easy, the demo!

556pineapple
556pineapple
11 years ago

GOW collection is out already? Good thing my new 500GB hard drive just arrived.

Siege
Siege
11 years ago

Thanks for the review, Ben!

I really love this game. I have played it once on Xbox and a second time on my Mac (and started a third time trying for timed runs). It is very enjoyable and the concept is simply magnificent. I definitely recommend it, it is worth the $15 price tag.

The story is pretty convoluted, and you will find yourself going "huh?" lots of times when reading the bits of narrative. I would suggest that (after beating the game!) you head over to gamesradar for a complete explanation of the story. It really is very interesting.

http://www.gamesradar.com/f/confusing-game-endings-explained/a-20090217174060058

Banky A
Banky A
11 years ago

Auron! Good to see ya'.

Aftab
Aftab
11 years ago

Great review, Ben. I was waiting for it, today, and I realized it is a puzzle game, and nothing you can rush through. How do you think this the puzzle design compares to games like Portal, or even R&C:ACIT?

And regarding the obscurity of the puzzles, I wouldn't knock your intelligence at all, especially if you completed the game and finished the review just in the time for when you said you would. That's just a common result of adding length to puzzle games when all the fundamentals of design and gameplay mechanic have been exhausted, and is a basic reflection of a programmer's mind. I'll definitely get it, but $15 seems a bit high for it now.

King James
King James
11 years ago

Catch this one when it goes on sale.

Orvisman
Orvisman
11 years ago

I've written this before in another article by Ben, and I'll write it one more time.

You people complain when the 360 gets exclusive games and content, but then you won't buy a game that was once a 360 exclusive when it comes to the PS3 because it is too expensive, or not enhanced enough, for a year-old game.

Come on people, wake the heck up!

With this attitude, why would Jonathan Blow, or anyone, put his next game on PS3 exclusively or simultaneously with the 360?

For that matter, most of you have this attitude with most multiplat games. If you keep refusing to buy multiplat games, even good ones, because you feel the 360 is holding the game back (fair point), you're letting the 360 version outstrip the PS3 version at retail.

When this happens, you can understand why some devs might not spend enough time optimizing the PS3 version of their game or why, heaven forbid, some devs might not even develop a PS3 version.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

because unlike you, developers realise from a marketing standpoint, a year old game isn't going to sell as well.

if they hadn't made he error in the first place, they would have gotten alot more sales. Right now its old news.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

You both have a point but I'm not going to get into a big debate.

I'm just going to see it from the standpoint that people should reward good efforts by developers by purchasing their work, regardless of platform or any other outside influence(s).

Orvisman
Orvisman
11 years ago

Then how do you explain the rampant notion among PS3 owners on this site that they won't buy multiplats because the 360 is holding the PS3 back (again, fair point).

A good game that becomes available for your system is still a good game, regardless of when it comes out. Like Ben wrote, we need to reward the devs for bringing their good games, even late, to the PS3. I made this same case for Trine a few weeks back.

Are you really going to sit there and tell me PS3 owners won't buy the GTAIV Lost & Damned and Ballad of Gay Tony DLCs when they become available much later on for the PS3? Of course they will, but that's the hypocrisy of the whole thing. The bulk of you won't buy games like Brutal Legend (or whatever low-profile multiplat) because the 360 has gimped the PS3 version; but they will still go out and buy the GTAs, CODs, and FF XIII, even though, by their standards, the PS3 versions are gimped.

Heck, most PS3 owners won't even go out and buy their great PS3 exclusives (Uncharted 2 seems to be the exception). Look at the sales for LBP, Killzone 2, Infamous, Demon's Souls… decent but nowhere near these quality games deserve. And let's not mention the weak PS3 showings for ALMOST every multiplat, both major and low profile, to come out, even recently.

Forget the number of consoles out there. Even if the PS3 overtakes the 360, if PS3 owners don't stop being so damned selective and snobbish with their purchases, 360 games will still outsell PS3 games and devs will continue to make the 360 their lead platform, continuing to gimp the PS3 versions.

After all, why spend so much time developing and optimizing PS3 games when they don't sell anyway.

Would I prefer these late games to be priced accordingly? Yes. Braid should be priced $5 cheaper, but I believe it still sells for the M$ft points equivalent of $15.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

Your argument is valid but those PS3 games you listed were all released before the price drop except for Demon's Souls. The numbers should start to go up for exclusives going forward. Also, PS3 versions are rarely gimped at this point and in regards to FF XIII, the 360 version is the gimped one.

I agree that PS3 owners need to buy more games, like I do. However, I tend to think that PS3 gamers don't spend all day in front of their consoles playing video games. The 360 gamer seems to be more obsessed with their hobby, buying every M-rated game that comes out. It's two different audiences out there.

As we go forward, I'm sure more PS3 exclusives will sell bigger numbers and top the charts. More PS3 3rd party games will outsell their 360 counterparts. DL games and DLC, well, we can't control that. It's starting to happen more.

If you haven't bought those games Orvisman has listed, please do. These are all great games, especially inFamous.

Ben, what exactly did the individual who had his comment deleted say to me? You know, I have a problem with 15 year-old gamers who think that playing M-rated games and swearing to people online represents "adult behavior".


Last edited by n/a on 11/17/2009 12:27:06 PM

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

@Orvisman
wow you're really up in arms about this eh? have fun being so absurdly angry about something that doesn't really mean that much.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Zet: He doesn't sound "absurdly angry." He's just stating his case.

The Doom
The Doom
11 years ago

@brighat1971
i told u to shut up.

but b4 anyone else gets their panties in a bunch, i had a reason to. after i read your claim that braid "finally arrived on the console that would appreciate the game the most", the four letters that came to mind was 'stfu' because the game ISN'T as popular as it was on xbl. if it was as appreciated as u say it was, it would be in the top 10 downloads. but look there right now and its not even mentioned there. when it first came out on xbl and was even in the #1 spot. it was downloaded by about 55,000 people if i remember. not the case on psn. with that in mind, IS braid REALLY more appreciated on psn? No. SHOULD it be? definitely.

and for the record, i'm 19, not 15 and i didn't make any claim of what adult behavior should be like

ace_boon_coon
ace_boon_coon
11 years ago

@ the doom

why are you so angry?

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

At 15 dollars it's an overpriced game since it doesn't offer nearly as much replay value as games priced around 10 dollars. This game sold quite well on the xbla when it was originally released but I have to wonder what was available at the time? The PSN is known for offering varied content, especially unique niche games so maybe Braid just showed up a little late to the party.

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

Hey Orvisman, I hear ya! But you know what? A lot of people are hypocrites too. I guarantee you that a lot of those "I hate multi plats" commenters out there have a library full of them.

As for Braid, I have a 360 and didn't buy it last year. Why would I buy it now that it's on the PS3? Especially at 15 bux!

<Goes back to Dragon Age>

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

@ The Doom

You're 19? You sure don't type like one. What's with the use of "u"? It's "you". Type like an adult, man.

Kowhoho
Kowhoho
11 years ago

@ Doom
Dude. Seriously, could ya drop it? It isn't selling as much because there's little to no hype surrounding it (since it's old). At this point you're just being immature.

SnipeySnake
SnipeySnake
11 years ago

Ok, has anyone ever heard a kid thats like 9 years old on psn swearing and trashing everything. Nope right? I think thats because the xbox comes with a headset and kids use that immediately. While on the ps3, little kids would rather just buy a game then a bluetooth because it doesn't come with a bluetooth headset.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

Why I hate headsets. Why do I even want to hear these little kids online? If talking to these people were worth it, fine. It's not. Maybe it's for the best as they won't like an adult chastising them for playing an M-rated game.

I know one telltale sign of what age someone is: their gamertag. If it looks 1337 or is really lame or derogatory, it's a kid.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
11 years ago

1337, huh?
I guess I'm in my 2nd 1/2 of the century(57th year), I'm just way too damned old to know what it means ????

just2skillf00l
just2skillf00l
11 years ago

Orvisman, woah, woah woah, hold on a second.
Just one thing. FF13 just became a multiplatform title. It was exclusive before this FF13 release. Also people are on a budget too. Okay the rest of your argument seemed pretty logical.

shaytoon
shaytoon
11 years ago

psn having a sale right now and the game is going for $7.49

i just might grab it 🙂

Mavfan321
Mavfan321
11 years ago

I'm late to this comment party, I love this game. Plus I got it for absolutely free so TREMENDOUS value.

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