The Travails of Time: A Review of Braid
If you take a platforming game in the style of Mario and throw in somber painting styles, interesting takes on puzzles, and a subtle plot, you'll end up with Braid.
Tales As Old As Time
Braid is a relaxing puzzle platforming that you can pick up and play with little difficulty. The learning curve is really relaxed, and the game never puts a particular rush on you. A large part of this is that there is a game mechanic that allows you to reverse time. This feature ensures that your early mistakes are easy to fix and learn from. Later on, the game will throw curves in time at you, such as special green objects that are unaffected by time reversal and a world where time runs in reverse when you move left.
You'll have to learn and adapt to these mechanics to continue to move forward and traverse the worlds of Braid. A personal favorite part is that in-game music will reverse and adapt to the time manipulation, which is a solid part of the immersion process.
Despite the sincere art style, Braid hides a haunting plot. Without giving away too much, you'll first find the plot to begin as usual. Your princess has been captured and you have to go get her. What reveals from there is a tale of regret and the need to go back in time and fix it all. The plot is never thrown in your face, either: You have to gleam bits and pieces of it from collectible puzzle pieces and journals at the beginning of world entrances. Collecting all of the game's hidden pieces will put the final bits of the plot into place and you'll be in for a treat.
The Journey is the Prize
Braid isn't a very long game - you'll blow through it in a couple of dedicated hours. That said, you should still play Braid. A haunting soundtrack will follow you through beautiful worlds, and you'll get to a point where you'll be hooked on solving the time-based puzzles and the intriguing bits of plot thrown at you. I found myself captivated by all of the little things the game had to offer, and I believe that more people should experience the journey.
Should you get the chance, I fully recommend anyone and everyone to pick up Braid on Steam and give this wonderful game a chance.