Braid is a fairly new indie title, falling under the categories of Artsy, Puzzle-Platformer. It's available for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

The story (that I can tell you without giving too much away) centers around Tim the small hero of the story, and his journey through various levels in an attempt to rescue his princess.

As to what has happened to the Princess, who she is etc. I can't say. . . Not because I want to avoid spoiling the story, but because there is so much speculation as to who she is that there doesn't seem to be one absolute correct answer.

The reason for this is simple, the story makes next to no sense and is given to the player in small chunks of text picked up from books at the start of a new world.

Braid is a very artsy game which looks like the graphics have been painted onto the screen with water colour paints with very detailed lush backgrounds that have some mild animation and overall it looks more like you are playing a work of art rather than a game.
however, don't let that fool you, despite being an arty game it is one that will really test your thinking muscles, but more on that later.

The animation in the game while fairly simplistic is also done very well and looks very well polished overall, granted there are only 3 main enemy types and they all work in essentially the same way, but that doesn't matter, they look very well done and just little touches to the animation really add something special to the title.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that the gameplay looks familiar, looks a little bit Mario-ish, because it is,

this plays very much like a tribute title, but with an added difference, you cannot die in Braid.
While you can get hit and this will cause a brief death animation (including a shocked look on Tim's face) with the press of a button, you can rewind time and right your mistakes.

And this is where Braid comes into its own. For those of you who played the Prince of Persia Sands of Time Trilogy, you'll be well versed in rewinding time to right a mistake. Unlike the PoP series though, Braid will allow you to rewind time right back to the start of the section you were playing. In most cases the ability to rewind time will be essential to clear certain areas of the game.

In order to complete the levels (and eventually the whole game) Tim must collect 12 puzzle pieces per level. There are a total of 60 puzzle pieces dotted about in the levels with each completed puzzle opening up a section of pathway leading to the final level.

Each world in Braid has a different skill to teach, while time can be rewound in all levels, in each world there is also an added skill or trick to get around, for example in one world, whenever you rewind time, Tims' Shadow will leave his body and complete the task that Tim did prior to the rewind, while this sounds confusing, it works very well and Shadow-Tim can be useful for hitting levers or switches so that Tim can get through the next section.

There is very little of this to speak about, the background music is a classical piece on a loop, which is alright for a while but will eventually get on your nerves. Tim himself makes no noise except for the occasional grunt when he "dies". Aside from that there are the usual boings and bouncing noises expected from a Mario style game. Despite this, the sounds that have been portrayed work very well and the minimalist approach works for the title rather than against it.

With the exception of 1, it is possible to get every trophy on a single run, the only ones available here are bronzes and silvers, there are no golds and as expected from a download title, there is no platinum.

So with all the trophies being available in one run, it shouldn't be that long a game right?
WRONG! While it's true the whole game can be run through in about 45 minutes (If you can complete the speed run challenge) The main story is only part of the game as a whole.

At the start of the game Tim sees a series of 8 stars in the sky making up a constellation, however, the stars are missing, they are in fact hidden in the levels, not only can looking for those stars take a while, but in one case at least getting to the star will swallow up at least an 2 hours of your time. (It should also be stated that there is at least one star that you only have one chance to get, miss it and start over)

Overall this provides a decent challenge and the player is rewarded with a change to the ending for collecting each of the stars.

Finally there is then the option of the speed runs, available once the game has been finished (stars not required) in order to complete the challenge you will need to enter each world, collect every puzzle piece and complete the puzzles themselves within 45 minutes (60 minutes for PC and 360 Owners) nothing else is unlocked from this aside from the usual trophy/achievement,
so really it's for bragging rights only.

That being said the amount of time that would need to be invested in order to speed run the game would more than make up for the price of the title and allow the player to feel that their money was well spent.

Final Thoughts
Overall Braid is a well put together title that suffers slightly from a lack of original thought when it comes to level design, the reason for this is that on later stages, you'll find that the level is the same as one played earlier but the skills required to complete the level have changed and require a re-think.
At the price being asked for it, it may seem a little pricey and unless you plan on getting everything done within the game then you may feel that you haven't gotten your moneys worth as on a first play-through (without worrying about collecting stars etc) it can be a very short game.

A very pretty though pricey, quirky platformer, well worth a look if you loved both the Mario and Prince of Persia franchises.
May not be for everyone so use caution when buying.

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