Braid, Anniversary Edition review – time to rewind

Braid, Anniversary Edition screenshot

Braid, Anniversary Edition – time flies when you’re having fun (Thekla)

One of the most important indie games of all time returns with a remaster that adds more than a dozen new levels and revamped visuals.

The Xbox 360 may have been the worst selling console of its generation but there are many good reasons why it’s considered the most influential format of its time. The Wii may have been more copied but its focus on motion controls and ultra-casual games has had little lasting impact. But the Xbox 360 was the console that made online an integral part of gaming, while also pushing concepts such as Achievements and Xbox Live Arcade.

Xbox Live Arcade is a largely forgotten phrase nowadays but back then the concept of buying and downloading smaller scale games and expansions directly from your console was still new, after a handful of early experiments on the original Xbox console.

By definition, indie gaming was responsible for the birth of video games, but it wasn’t until Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360 was used to promote and sell games such as Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved and Castle Crashers that the term indie gaming entered the common vernacular. The other release key amongst these early pioneers was 2008’s Braid, which was not only an excellent game but something that could only exist as a downloadable indie title.

16 years later and it’s sad to say that Braid has become almost as forgotten as the Xbox Live Arcade branding which it helped to popularise. That’s largely because not only did it not get a sequel, or any kind of re-release until now, but it’s not a game that was widely copied in anything other than broad strokes. The only subsequent title by creator Jonathan Blow was The Witness, although apparently he is now working on a new, large scale game.

Since this remaster has not arrived in time for any important anniversary, it seems reasonable to assume this is simply to raise funds for his new game. As a sprite-based 2D platformer, there’s only so much remastering a game like Braid needs but as well as the original story campaign this remaster also adds a number of new levels, with extensive commentary meant to educate as well as just entertain.

Despite how influential the nature of Braid’s original release was, the game itself is something of a love letter to gaming’s past. The constant, unsubtle references to Super Mario – from princess-less castles to talking dinosaurs – make clear the game’s old school influences, while the gameplay has more in common with single-screen platformers such as Rodland and the original Donkey Kong.

You can rush through each level by simply getting to the exit, but the real goal is to collect special jigsaw pieces. At first this seems to be through fairly standard platform antics, until you realise you are working in three dimensions after all, except the third is time. Time controls aren’t unheard of in video games but here you …read more

Source:: Metro


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