I first heard about Braid last year when I attended Free Play 2007, the independent games expo here in Melbourne, in my capacity as Planet Nerd‘s roving reporter. Braid creator Jonathan Blow was the keynote speaker, though I missed his address and only caught him on an excellent panel about game design. The key thing that piqued my interest was repeated mentions of its “rewind” feature; this isn’t really a new idea – it’s been used in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, for example – but for it to be included in a game by an independent developer of Blow’s calibre certainly piqued my interest. Having been thinking about recently, I was doubly interested in the game when it was released this week for Xbox LIVE Arcade.
Once you get past the lovely prose and gorgeous painted visuals (by David Hellman of one of my favourite web comics, A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible) you quickly discover that this game is like an art-rock version of Super Mario Bros. You jump from platform to platform in a series of “Worlds”, jumping on the heads of diminutive enemies (who resemble Grug more than anything else), and trying to collect the pieces of puzzles which illustrate the game’s backstory. Read more