I had 6 hours of free time yesterday, so I decided to take some time to catch up on Xbox Live games. I was figuring I’d land on Bionic Commando, but I tried the Braid demo first. If you haven’t played it yet, and you’re like me, you probably look at the screenshots and go “meh”. It looks a little… bubbly, I guess. The name and the graphics don’t let on to how cool it is. I immediately bought it after getting to the end of the demo. Bionic Command will have to wait.
Maybe the reason I didn’t know what Braid was about was because it’s kind of hard to explain. It’s sort of like Mario Bros. in that they have a princess and she’s “in another castle”, but the game is really about puzzles. At any point in the game you can reverse time. If you die, rewind. The puzzles come into play largely by having objects that aren’t affected by time in the same way as your character. There’s also an interesting story to tie it all together. You get a little story at the beginning of each or 6 worlds, and then jump into puzzles.
From a technical standpoint, Braid is amazing. When you rewind, everything goes backwards, exactly as you played it out, even the sound, which I’m really impressed by. Playing things backwards is not something most software is designed to do, and the software geeks behind Braid have done a really good job. And the thing about being able to play back your gameplay is that you automatically have a nearly perfect bug reporting and reproducing system, which makes debugging easier. The game is smooth.
I don’t know. After writing this I realize it’s really hard to explain Braid. I bet they’re losing a lot of sales because of that. If you’re a details type person, you can notice that they took a lot of time balancing the puzzles, working out the gameplay, and making sure it was technically perfect. As far as Xbox Live games go, I think it’s one of the best (but I haven’t played Bionic Commando yet). If I had a rating system, it would receieve 13 out of 14 bacon strips.