Artwork created by David Hellman for advertising Braid

Imagine Mario, the stocky man with the red hat and bushy mustachio, is a business man and Princess Peach has chosen to disappear on her own rather than being kidnapped by Bowser. Angry mushrooms have turned into brown balls of fur and Koopa turtles have taken on the form of vicious pink bunnies. Instead of Stars, puzzle pieces are the coveted objects. In Braid, a PC game and video game released for the XBOX 360, you follow Tim on his journey to find “the Princess.” Tim isn’t your average hero; He’s a middle-aged man sporting a black suit and a red necktie. Despite his professional appearance, he runs through bright fields of grass and flowers and bounces on sparkling clouds. 

Flock of Bunnies chasing Tim in Braid for PC

 The game reminds me a bit of a Matryoshka doll. Just dolls in decreasing sizes are nested within one another, Braid is full of puzzle within puzzle, within puzzle, within puzzle…You search for puzzle pieces the same way Mario searches for large golden stars. Like Mario, there are also multiple puzzle pieces spread throughout a level, and they are hard to obtain. Once puzzle pieces are collected, you then must solve another “puzzle” by connecting the pieces. There is one trait that sets Braid apart from other games: The ability to manipulate time. One can reverse time simply by hitting the Shift key, making Tim seem immortal. Imagine if you had the power to control time, but cannot see into the future. The only direction you would have to run is forward because the future is uncertain. In some levels, this thought is taken literally. If Tim steps backwards (pressing the left  arrow on the keyboard in this case) everything he has previously done is gradually erased. If you had the power to correct your past, that would mean that the “future” is incredibly varied.

Main room where you can view finished puzzles in Braid for PC

The storyline for Braid is deep and almost philosophical. Love stories often appeal to audiences and Braid tells us a story about how love can almost become suffocating. Overall, Braid  is an excellent game which challenges our minds and draw us into a close relationship with the main characters.


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