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He’d seen it in the distance. The moving cloud-platform that he needed to take to end the level was slowly drifting away. He didn’t wait; He sped across the room which was sprawling with goomba-like creatures,  evading them, and neutralizing them when necessary. And from the end of the platform, he jumped. But he didn’t make it. The moving platform left him, inches away, to fall into the pit where death awaited him. And  unlike any other platform game, I didn’t whine and wait to press the usual ‘Restart’ button; instead, I pressed the Rewind key and zoomed back to a point from which I thought I could make it.

This is just one of the many brilliant aspects of this indepently created wonder. Developed independently by inhouse developer, Number None, this is one game that you’ll never forget. Braid exposes the underlit parts of  your mind like nothing else does. It it impossible to describe in a few words or lines;  it has a powerful plot that’ll intertwine you with emotions that each one of us can relate to, throbs your gray matter frequently but never pokes it; and brings higly innovative gameplay the makes this an immense joy to play.

Tim, the lovable protagonist of Braid

Tim, the lovable protagonist of Braid

Braid is one of those rare games that makes you plunder into the utmost depths of your brain trying to solve its very clever puzzles and frequently makes you go, ‘Oh Why didn’t I think of that before?’ throughtout every millisecond of its journey. There’s no specific genre that we can recognize in Braid, Braid is simply in a league of its own, even though technically speaking, its a platform-adventure.

But when is the last time you actually felt good finishing a videogame? When is the last time, you felt something changed in you after playing a videogame? Braid is a game that is not here only to be played with; it is a teacher and guide that shows us many things we never knew before, it shows us the depth of human emotions and its power, it tells of the consequences of our actions if we’re careful enough; it reveals the fatalities of obsession a human can have.
Infact, finishing the game presented with me a more philosophical perspective; not just about videogames, but about everything.

In Braid, you play as Tim, and he’s made a mistake that robs him of his love. The story unfolds itself as you progress through the game; they are told in the form of books, that recite moments from the key incidents of  Tim’s life. It is pretty much hard to focus on the story in the beginning stages of the game, cause you probably might not understand whats goin on; it takes a few worlds to ease you in, to get you flowing on with the plot.

Braid’s puzzles are one heck of another affair; the puzzles are so cleverly designed, that it makes you gasp in wonder when you understand how things work in a each level. Some of the puzzles are actually frustrating, but as in with many things, none of them is impossible. Infact, if you just sit back and work it out, you’d be surprised at the brilliance and simplicity of each one of them. Finishing off each level feels highly rewarding, and I have yet to play a game that returned a sensation like Braid did. Aiding you to solve the dramatic puzzles are a set of very innovative gameplay mechanics. These come in the form of abilities, and each world you pass through features you having a different kind of strength. Basically, there are three abilities in this game, the Rewind mode, which allows  you to retry a mistaken move even if Tim dies (and sure die you will); The Slow Motion, which is like Max Payne and TimeShift, although very different because here, instead of the whole  world slowing down, only objects within a specific radius around a ring that Tim drops down will be affected; and then finally, an ability where Tim casts a shadow and the shadow executes the moves that Tim pulls off to help finish off a level. Each move has its own meaning, but I’m not ruining that for you now; it is explained as the story moves on.

Rewinding gives you a gazillion chances to redeem your mistakes.

Rewinding gives you a gazillion chances to redeem your mistakes.

Coupled with Braid’s intense storyline and brilliant puzzle design are the amazing painterly-style visuals and stupendous background music. The graphics are something you’ll have never seen before; each object in the  game feels lovingly handpainted, each object emits some kind of personality, and when you see it all in unison, its like the world is actually breathing. Aesthetically, nothing in this game seems to have been given more  importance than another, everything has paid equal attention; you really feel there is a balance to everything. Braid’s musical score more than sets the mood, its one of the key aspects of the game design the pulls you straight into the atmosphere of the game; you immediately know that this is more than just a soundtrack, and it lets you know there is something special waiting for you.

And when you put it all together, you get Braid. It is a game like no other, a game that immediately draws you in without hesitation, with its enigmatic presentation, ground shattering storyline and puzzle design, lovable protagonist, beautiful visuals and music. I’d tell you with confidence; if theres a game you should be buying, its Braid. It changes the way you interpret and widens your perspective before you know it. Tell me when else did a game do that.

Without a doubt, Braid is the best game I’ve ever played. Valve’s Portal, the freeware masterpiece Cave Story and Metal Gear Solid 2 : Sons of Liberty are a few games that I can say that comes near. My  only complaint about the game is that, its too short, and has pretty much no reply value as far as I can see, because it doesnt offer the initial challenge again. It is also pretty expensive, but dissapoint you; every single penny is worth it.

Braid set a new standard for gaming. It is the finest example that tells us games aren’t just for entertainment; but also to teach us players new things. And as developer of Braid, Jonathan Blow right said “”I don’t think games are there yet but if we are good about it we can develop games into a medium that’s more relevant to the wide swathe of humanity.””

If you do play this game, don’t even think of using a walkthough, it will simply spoil the experience. I confess I did use at a certain level, only to find out that I could’ve done it myself after I’d seen it through.

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Posted by Milad   @   21 May 2009 0 comments
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