I bought the game Braid to play during my long subway commutes.
While I am not a huge fan of platform games – or any game that relies on precision jumping as a key game mechanic – I have been enjoying Braid. The artwork is sometimes beautiful and impressionistic and the puzzles are usually complex enough to be interesting but not so complex as to be frustrating or impossible.
The plot is difficult to evaluate. At first, the protagonist ‘Tim’ comes across as a bit of a stalker, and the whole game seems rather transparently autobiographical. There do seem to be hints of it becoming more interesting, however. Tim, after all, is a kind of a wizard with unusual temporal control powers. The story of how he gained those capabilities is probably more interesting than the rather predictable story of his failed romance.
The game certainly has some interesting mechanics. Playing a platform game inevitably involves seeing the protagonist die over and over again (how many times did Mario fall down pits, get torched by fireballs, and so on?). Braid is the first game I can recall playing where death can be a necessary part of solving puzzles. Tim can commit himself to impossible situations, then ‘rewind’ to an earlier state. Because there are game elements that are not reversed during such rewinding, it is possible then to ‘rewind’ to a state that is different from what originally existed. Puzzles of this sort can be quite perplexing.