Playing Braid immediately reminded me of my first ever gameplay of the classic arcade style Mario games, where our hero is on his quest to save his Princess from the clutches of the monstrous Bowser. The overall two dimensional feel, the similarities in storyline, and even the exact motions Tim makes to move through the game and fight his enemies are extremely reminiscent of Mario gameplay.
Similarities begin to break down when the overall structure of the game is revealed. Braid is extremely dependent on Tim’s ability to find and put together puzzle pieces, which are dispersed throughout the game. Additionally, Tim has to go on several mini quests which are strung together in a seemingly linear fashion, although repeat gameplay is possible among worlds. This is a difference from Mario’s gameplay, which revolves around finding stars at the end of each level and then several more worlds become available at a time.
I feel as though this game makes one massive innovation from a standpoint of user experience, and that is the ability to press the shift key to instantly reverse the effects of whatever period of time you’re holding it down for, fixing mistakes and bringing Tim back to life. Many video games today are highly inefficient of this, forcing a player to restart at checkpoints that often exist far before the death takes place and therefore having the player repeat all of their hard work to get back to that point. This is one of the most frustrating things in gaming today, and this basic, simple command makes for a huge improvement.
I think this game is very fun so far. Unfortunately, I’ve been extremely ill for the past few days so I haven’t had the privilege of playing it with my partner in class, so I hope she’s had a good time flying solo for a few days. I look forward to playing this game again soon.