Originally Published: 8 August 2008
Messing with time has been a big thing in games for a long time. Blinx The Timesweeper had us rewinding, fast-forwarding and pausing long before a certain Prince from Persia started running along walls. And don’t get me started on bullet-time which, while a great technique, is just a little over-used in a few too many games. More recently, of course, we’ve had Timeshift which took the time manipulation of Blinx and Prince of Persia and added grenades and guns.
And then came Braid.
Braid takes the time-fiddling gameplay of Blinx, PoP and Timeshift and says. “yeah, that’s good… but what about this? This will mess with your mind!” before it sticks you in a world where every step forward advances time and every step back rewinds time. Then it says “and while you’re at it, I want you to collect this jigsaw piece. Oh, and everything’s hand drawn and pretty looking to distract you while you’re at it. Sorry!”
The puzzles are excellent. The first world you encounter sets the standard for the kind of puzzles you’re going to come across – a lot require well-timed jumps onto the heads of unsuspecting enemies in order to reach some of the jigsaw pieces. That’s all well and good. But when you then discover that you need to use a platform in the jigsaw you’re building to reach some of the remaining pieces in the level, that’s when you know you’ve hit a game born of genius. And the feeling you get when you’ve collected all the pieces in a world is one of immense accomplishment. But, sadly, one I’ve only felt once so far – stupid time-rules!
Braid weighs in at 1200MS points, so it’s not the cheapest Arcade title out there, but it’s well worth the investment. It’s one of the best Arcade titles available – and believe me, I have them all sitting on my hard-drive so I know when it’s good! And hey, if you don’t believe me – just google the game, you will find page upon page of glowing reviews. I haven’t played it since I dragged myself away at something-past-midnight on Wednesday (well, technically Thursday) but it’s still in my head now. I keep thinking “I wonder if I did that, whether I could reach that piece”. I know it won’t work but it’s bloody good fun trying!
So excuse me for a moment, while I just try work out how to get my shadow twin to collect the key without falling foul of the killer rabbit, or how I can climb a ladder with a nasty at the top that will only move if I’m further through the level…
Time travel is fun!