A solid break from stress and “Legion”

I think the moment I realized that I had gotten really into the game was when I stepped out of the Towers West Lounge and thought about walking backward to turn back time out of curiosity. That HUNT! puzzle killed me.

I admit that I didn’t spend as much time playing the game as my partner Katherine, but I did sit down and had the great pleasure of trying to wring out puzzle pieces and completion from worlds 4 and 5. The double lever shadow puzzle also killed me.



I wasn’t particularly gripped with the story. I know the game came out a while ago, but I was dissuaded by the very tell-centric nature of delivering the narrative. I didn’t feel like I was playing through the story as much as just playing a puzzle game and reading about some aspects of the story every new world. As a creative writer and otherwise fiction analyst, I find that, especially with interactive media, it is so very interesting to be able to tell a game’s story through the actual game. Sometimes for games I don’t play, I look at cinematics to learn some parts of the story, and especially for fighting games it’s amazing to me how much story they can fit into fighting sequences. Considering that example is a fairly limited form of the video game medium for show-centric story, it seems almost cheap for a game like this to skimp completely out of showing and just rely on the several books at the beginning of each new world.

Nonetheless, I was thoroughly intrigued by the game, and I was so fascinated by the repetition of puzzles and the way they simply used newer mechanics to make the repeated puzzles less…repetitive. Adding new mechanics was a really fun way of taking puzzles that previously were fairly trivial and making us have to rethink them and really wrack our brains for good solutions. Still looking at you, HUNT!.

More on the mechanics – not a lot of games switch up mechanics midway through the game. Sure, you might be able to acquire new abilities or weapons that supplement the skills you’ve already developed, but I think a major part of the difficulty of Braid was encountering these new mechanics early on and needing to simply engage with them and figure them out as you were solving the puzzles. While the base skills remain the same (sure, the jumping and time rewinding), you fairly rapidly have to be able to integrate these new skills and at least attempt the puzzles with possibly underdeveloped feelings for how the mechanics will work.

One of the biggest preventions of that making me give up on this game experience was the fact that I could go through the game without actually needing to solve all of these crazy puzzles immediately was a major drawing point for me to this game. I’m not a huge platformer guy, and I like puzzle games, but mostly just on mobile devices. Despite all of this, I found Braid incredibly easy to get into and stay into due to my ability to move on from one puzzle to the next if I found myself stuck on one for more than twenty minutes.

Overall, I thought the game was incredibly intuitive and thoroughly enjoyable, through the difficulty. I probably wouldn’t finish the game by myself, but I thought that figuring out the puzzles that I did was particularly rewarding and I enjoyed the experience a lot. Even though I failed several puzzles. And I didn’t realize how to finish the purple lion puzzle. It was late and I had had some champagne, okay?

2 thoughts on “A solid break from stress and “Legion””

  1. I thought your comments about the way story is treated in the game were interesting. True, the levels themselves reveal little, if anything about the actual plot happening. Though some aspects of the game force us to revisit the books over and over again to hear the same plot points, we don’t actually gain any narrative or substance from the levels themselves. This was one of my main criticisms of the game, as we aren’t forced to give much emotional attention to the levels themselves, as they are only a means to find more books and more of the story.

  2. I agree with your feelings about the game’s story- it just felt weak. The exposition from the fairy tale books and the *constant* use of princess and terms like *save* were too much. It was like the books were Telling us that the protagonist is a modern Don Quixote rather than showing it. As such, I ended up just not paying close attention to the story by world 4. And despite this, I still appreciate the mix of the rewind mechanic to fit with the general narrative; I just wish the rest of it wasn’t heavy-handed exposition of an archetype.

    In addition, I totally agree that if I had to solve each puzzle as it appeared, I would not want to play for very long. I appreciate that the levels allow you to work on those at your own pace, since everyone is different. I like to finish all the levels and see what I can get easily, then revisit all them and see what I can get with more practice, and then choose worlds I enjoy most and start trying to get all the puzzles there. Some of my classmates got all the puzzles in one world before advancing to the next, so I’m assuming that they liked that better. For me it felt too forced, and I wanted to see what came next and know how many I could figure out in a few minutes.

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