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February 20, 2013

Braid GUEST REVIEW


Braid is a 2009 platform/puzzle game released for the Xbox 360/PC/PS3.

REVIEWING STYLE:

--Green is for mild content.

--Blue is for moderate or very brief intense content, provided that it isn't too graphic.

--Orange is for intense content.

--Red is for very graphic or prolonged intense content.

Areas of Concern:


Violence:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

There is about as much violence in this game as there is in Super Mario Bros. Your character jumps on enemies’ heads to kill them, and can fall to his death via large distances or on spikes.

--One of the bosses is a fairly ugly fellow, but nothing that wouldn’t disturb anyone older than a toddler.

--Said boss can shoot fireballs, which (in addition to the spikes), is about as violent as this game gets.

Sex/Nudity:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

Aside from a cute love story comprising most of the plot, there is no sexual content (much less nudity).

Language:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

None.

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

(See Language).

Spiritual Content:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

As with the story, the spiritual content may be up to you with this game. The “space” between levels/chapters is somewhat of a dream world, but could be perceived as Heaven. And there is the whole time-travel aspect. But there is no blatant spiritual content.

Morality:

Abysmal Bad So-so Okay Good Very Good

Your character is unselfish, on a journey to save his love, no matter what the consequences are. That means he puts his personal welfare to the wayside, similar to Mario. He is basically an upstanding moral character. The only possible blemish would be that he uses some seemingly innocent “enemies” to reach his goal.

Thoughts & Impressions: 


What it’s about: 

Braid is a puzzle/platform game purely from the mind of acclaimed indie developer Jonathan Blow. It involves a red-haired protagonist on an attempt to save the love of his life (and a princess).

It’s a traditional platformer, but with time travel and puzzle elements thrown in (as well as optional “jigsaw puzzle” elements). 

Quality Conclusion:

At first, Braid seems like a blatant (if modernized) port of Super Mario Bros. The homages to the iconic game are prevalent throughout. It has a hero who is on a constant question to rescue an elusive princess, who has been kidnapped by a brutish antagonist (complete with fireballs and all). 

But unlike Mario, this game is forgiving. Miss jumping on an enemy’s head? No worries, you can just reverse time and try again (much better than lives). In fact, the game gradually introduces new gameplay aspects so easily, you rarely ever get frustrated (until the later levels, that is). Granted, there are some definite brain-benders, but that makes it more satisfying once you complete the game.

Oh, and did I mention the audial and visual aesthetics? Even Van Gogh would have a hard time competing with how beautiful this game is. Plus, the soundtrack is worthy of an iTunes download (very reminiscent of a blend between Lord of the Rings and a traditional Irish ballad).

In short, this game deserves the hype it garnered in the indie gamer world. The story is vague, yet interesting. But that’s how Blow probably wanted it. As for the gameplay, it combines the basic mechanics of early video games with unique things we’ve never seen (or heard) before, which is always welcome. And it’s difficult enough for the hardcore gamer, without alienating the casual one.

Quality-wise, this game is just as good as any multi-million-dollar blockbuster.


Clouds, flowers and tubes…oh my!

The short length of Braid limits the objectionable moral content, but that by no means eliminates the possibility of it. Still, it’s about as hard to find anything immoral in Braid as it is to find a pebble in a pool.

This game harkens back to old-school gaming, when the worst content you’d find would be jumping on an enemy’s head. It’s a wholesome game that still appeals to the modern gamer. My only question is, why can’t more games be like this?

I have no reservations recommending this to all gamers young and old, though: 1, younger gamers will have a hard time with the mechanics; and 2, parents could probably use the love story and “monsters” as conversation-starters for younger gamers.


Verdict: (All Ages)

CLEAN
(Some cartoonish violence.)

END OF REVIEW

So there you go! I hope you enjoyed this short little review. Be sure to thank Daniel for his contribution. I will see you next week with whatever review I have up then.

Take care!

Your turn: What did you think of this little indie platformer? And more importantly, did you find that pebble in the pool?   

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