Review by bruno_fmenedes

"Braid is by far the best Puzzle Platformer since the release of Wario Land 3 for the GBC, nine years ago."

OVERALL SCORE: ((( 9.0 )))

GAMEPLAY = = = = = = = = = ( 9 )
GRAPHICS = = = = = = = = = ( 9 )
SOUND = = = = = = = = = ( 9 )
VALUE = = = = = = = ( 7 )

The 2D gameplay may seem simple and familiar at first, but Braid has more depth and innovation than most full-priced 3D games on the market. Clever level designs, with brain-teasing puzzles that take advantage of its terrific gameplay mechanics, is what makes the game shine and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best Puzzle Platformers ever created. A bit more variety in level designs wouldn't hurt and nowhere in the game does it mention that you can jump using the Z-key instead of the space-bar, when it's clearly a more functional option in my view.

With beautiful water-colored graphics, multi-layered backgrounds and some cool time-oriented visual effects, this is without a doubt the best looking 2D game I've ever seen. The initial version of the game had problems running on systems with Windows Vista, causing the frame-rate to drop significantly. Haunting, elegant and dynamic music score that fits the mood of the story and never gets tiring, even if you stay in the same level for a substantial amount of time, trying to figure out a certain puzzle. Helpful and memorable yet limited sound effects.

The text is very well written, with a few interesting sentences that stimulate thoughts. It also relates to the different time-manipulation abilities present in each chapter and the final twist is completely unexpected. But, from my humble point of view, the story is too abstract and leaves too many unanswered questions to be very fulfilling.

The value of this product isn't very high, even for a 15$ game, mainly because the game is short, roughly 4-7 hours long (depending on how fast you solve each puzzle), and that after discovering the solution of the puzzles it isn't nearly as exciting to solve them again. To be honest though, I enjoyed beating the entire game a second time. That's mainly because the exhilarating time-manipulation abilities don't get old. But also because solving the puzzles requires some platforming skill, enough to prevent it from becoming a cake-walk the second time through. And even after finishing the game a second time, I still had fun playing some of the speed runs, where you have a time-limit to get all the pieces in a level.

There are no clues about the existence of the 8 hidden stars, even after you beat the game, making them impossible to be found, unless you go to the internet and read about it. Even if you do that, it can be frustratingly hard to collect some of them (or just dull in the case of one in particular). And after finally catching the last star, you realize there's no meaningful reward for that unexciting hunt.

Braid may be small in size and replay-value but it's great in innovation, beauty, ambiance and in providing gratification. It may not be very accessible to casual gamers who didn't grow up playing 2D Platformers, but that's hardly a valid flaw. Any person who likes games that stimulate creative thinking and exercise 2D platforming skills will love Braid, the latest entry in restrict Puzzle Platformer genre.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/19/10, Updated 03/24/10

Game Release: Braid (US, 04/10/09)

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