Braid

Cameron Nutter - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

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GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: Xbox 360 (Microsoft)
Produced by: Number None Inc.
Price Range: $11-20
Learning curve time: 1-2 hrs.
Age level: Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
System Requirements: Have to have access to Xbox Live

Reviewed By: Cameron (Evileye)
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER

Overall Rating: ★★★★½
Genre: Platform
Christian Rating: 4 of 5 (good)
Gameplay: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Violence: 4 of 5 (barely present)
Adult Content: 4 of 5 (barely present)

Braid.  Illustration copyrighted.


Braid is a brilliant mix of insanely creative graphics, a soundtrack that will blow you off your feet, calm and serene gameplay during the beginning and intense gameplay towards the end. It combines games like Mario, by using the famous “Sorry, the princess is in another castle” phrase, but expands it greatly, story wise. It also plays out like the old Mario and Donkey Kong games, as the game makes you jump on the heads of your enemies and run around and finish puzzles. Then you throw a twist into the gameplay like being able to rewind and slow down time, like you were able to do in the Prince of Persia games, and you have yourself one of the best games on the Xbox Live Arcade.

Braid

Braid starts out with a bad taste in you mouth for most gamers. The games price tied for the second most expensive XBLA game to date, clocking in at 1200 Microsoft Points, which is $15. While some might not have a problem with the price, most gamers look at it and say “Hey, they are trying to rip me off!”. And then when they finally break down and buy it, they sit there in regret, saying “Oh woe is me, how could I have spend more than $10 on a XBLA game!? It's the end of the world!”. And then when they finally get over the price, and turn on the game, they realized that the $15 that they just spend was one of the best $15 that they will ever spend on a XBLA game, or a full retail game. In short, don't let the price scare you away from Braid, as it will be a big mistake.

The story within Braid is one of great sorrow and mystery, and to tell you anything of the story would be almost as terrible as a sin. Therefore, I will refuse to mention any more relating to the story except one more comment: You are looking for a princess. So, go turn on the game now.

Braid

The first thing that you will notice when you step into the world of Braid is how amazing it looks for a XBLA game. The entire game was airbrushed into existence. All of it was done by hand from scratch, and it really shows in motion. The word “Braid” lit up above your head in a fiery mess just makes for more eye-candy that you can handle. Everything seems to have a 'simmering glow' to it as well. Walking forward, you end up in a house, with what looks like a puzzle board, next to a door. The door is marked “World Two”. You enter the door. A abundance of books are shown before you, giving you a glimpse of the games deep story as you walk by. Then you see a number of doors lined up, with only the first one accessible. You enter the door.

Now you notice the music, which is a brilliant mixture of strings, and woodwind instruments, but mostly harp, played by Cheryl Ann Fulton. Every song will give you goose bumps as you are playing, just because it was done so well. A few of the songs made me tear up as I was reading the story and towards the end of the game. The music really adds a special touch to the game that it would otherwise not have. And so I say “Bravo” to the highly talented composer. I truly believe that this game's soundtrack deserves an award.

Braid

So after standing there in awe of the music, you must move on and start your journey. The game throws easy tasks at you, like jumping over a platform or hitting a enemy. And when you complete these tasks, you are rewarded with a puzzle piece, which you will later learn that you have to piece them together when you leave the level. After a few easy puzzle pieces that you get doing simple things, you come across a fire pit, with a puzzle piece on the other side. You jump, trying to make it across. But your jump falls short, and you plummet into the fiery pit of death. The screen goes gray, and you think that you will have to start the game over again. Right before restarting the game though, you see the “X” button flashing next to your character. You press it, and behold, your character starts to become alive again, as he thrusts himself backwards out of the pit, and lands back on the platform from where he had came. You also notice that the music goes backwards as you do. Thus, you are introduced to the main power used in the game: The power to control time itself.

From here, the puzzles get harder and harder. You gain more ways to manipulate time, which in turn adds more difficulty to the game. Some of the puzzles you will have to come back to finish them, because you won't 'get' them your first time through. Even the expert puzzle masters won't figure them all out on their first look at the puzzle. And for those who can figure out the puzzles with ease, apart from the 50 puzzle pieces that you collect in the game, there are 'stars' to collect as well, which cause you to push the limits of the games boundaries to find.

LANGUAGE:
There are no spoken words in the entire game. The only words are the world in the books that you read, and in text boxes when the characters speak. The only curse word that I ran across in the game was “Bi***”, and that was towards the end of the game.

VIOLENCE:
Standard “jump on the enemies head” techniques here. The rabid bunnies (that sound like cats) are a little freaky the first time you hear them, and they also bite your head off if they catch you. When you fall into a pit of fire, or have fire touch you in some way, your character burst into flames, and hits the ground, still on fire. It's nothing graphic, but a little kid might get a bit frightened.

Braid

POSITIVE ELEMENTS:
Our main hero never gives up. He fights and trudges on, no matter what is in his way. He longs to save the princess. He never shows any sign of 'giving up' in any way. He ignores what other people say about him, his adventure or his princess. Nothing can stop him. That determination is really cool in my book. It shows that he really loves this princess.

Final Conclusion:
Braid has raised the bar for what Xbox Live Arcade games should be. It also has raised the bar on 2D platforming. Mario is going to seem so empty now that I've played through Braid. When I fall into a hole, I will try and press a button to go back in time, but obviously, it won't work. Braid has changed my viewpoint on 2D platformers. It sucked me in with it's mind blowing graphics and it's enchanting musical score. So much so that I could barely even put the controller down to play other games. And Braid has one of the most deep story lines that I have ever seen in a game. For $15 dollars, you are not just downloading a game off of the internet. You are downloading a masterpiece which is better than most retail games that cost $15 and up as well. For those of you who are into achievements, you can acquire 180 of them by just beating the game and finding all the puzzle pieces. The rest will be a challenge to get.

Braid is a amazing game. If you have a Xbox, this is a must buy.

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Year of Release — 2008

[tags] 4.5 stars, Platform, Xbox 360 (Microsoft), T (Teen), Number None Inc. [/tags]

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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