I’ve been playing Braid for about 4 days now and have probably put in over 12hrs. I bought it because someone said you can beat it 6 hrs. Even though I’ve put a lot of time into it, more than I hoped I would, I am enjoying the brain twisting puzzles, for the most part. Some are really frustrating, more than they should be.
The whole game is one big experiment in game design, from the game loading without any title screens to its game mechanics of manipulating time. In the game you collect pieces of a jig-saw puzzle after completing obstacles that deal with manipulating time. Some are easy, some are very hard. So far they are hard because you have to know very specific mechanics of how things work in the game, but the game doesn’t teach you these things. There are also other objects that make you immune to the manipulations of time for a brief moment. Basically, there’s a lot of shit you need to learn and apply to complete some of the puzzles, but the game doesn’t teach you. You are expected to experiment and learn about them as you play. This can take an extremely long time depending on how experimental you are. It’s hard to make this clear without specific examples but I don’t want to give anything away. I’ll just say that only by accident when I made a mistake did I learn about a new ability I had.
I wonder if that’s the whole point? Some of the writing in the game does speak about learning from past mistakes. Maybe that is the point, that by playing Braid you get life lessons, such as, it’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Though, if someone tries hard enough they can get many life lessons from any game, “Super Mario Bros. teaches you to ‘look before you leap!’”
I’m very very eager to finish Braid with two pieces left to collect. Apparently, the ending makes the whole experience worth it. I’m skeptical.
© 2008, Reid Bryant Kimball. All rights reserved.