Starting off playing Braid, it was fairly reminiscent of the original Super Mario Bros games. Sure, it’s a more animated, up to date version, but the basic concept appeared the same. You maneuver through this alternate 2D world by walking left and right, jumping on little enemies and collecting pieces on your way to saving a princess. Soon enough though came the twist: the rewind button. Initially it appeared that the ability to rewind was simply an advantageous addition; a way to revive yourself with no consequences or to bring yourself right back up to that platform you didn’t mean to fall from. Of course, it wasn’t that simple. Rather than just being a beneficial tool, the rewind seems to give Braid an entirely new gaming element that separated it from Super Mario Bros and similar games: strategy.
As you work your way through a Super Mario Bros game, it isn’t terribly complex. You proceed through the various levels with the intention of reaching the ultimate goal of rescuing the princess and beating the game. Yet after a few minutes of playing Braid, you discover that the game requires a lot more thought than just reaching the door at the end of each level. Rather, you must consider how to use the rewind button to reach the next platform over a line of moving clouds, how to open multiple doors using only one key, or to kill your little foes in a particular order to reach that hidden puzzle piece. Each world presented a new challenge involving the ability to rewind and how it affects the environment around you.
The game continuously found ways to challenge you to obtain the various puzzle pieces, and some of the pieces seemed downright impossible to reach. While the game was certainly frustrating, the strategic component allowed the game to be more engaging and more rewarding than a game such as Super Mario Bros.