Personally, I have never played Braid until now, but being a prolific gamer and having seen my roommate play the game before, I have had some preparations and planning going into this assignment. On the other hand, my partner, Logan, is very new to video games, as far as I know.
Once the game started, I noticed the “artsy” undertone of the game, well before I reached the end: the first world is “World 2,” there is no “life” system, no resources for using a powerful mechanic (the time reversal), etc. These are general “conventions” often found in video game, and Braid is outright turning them on their faces.
But Braid is doing that so well. The entire game’s puzzles mesh well together with the mechanic I learned as the games progress, and the audio experience, influenced by the control of time, is very unique and interesting. This game can serve as a great example of merging narrative with mechanics, a sign of any great game on the market. Some examples are the little comments in the books such as “going back to fix his mistakes…” to signal Tim’s ability for reversing time, or mentioning and explaining “the ring” in World 6 for the appearance of a new mechanic (intentionally vague to avoid spoilers).
However, the artsy undertone did go a bit too far for me, as the game begins to appear pretentious with “the Princess is in another castle,” the deadly plants that are straight from Mario games, etc. It is as if Braid is saying, “I am a hipster, and Mario is the lesser for being so mainstream.” That is my opinion and perhaps it is born out of my experience with other games.
Nonetheless, Braid is a beautifully crafted game even for a veteran gamer, with well-designed puzzles and immersive soundtracks. If I were an obsessive completionist of video games, I would not mind going back to Braid over and over to enjoy the game multiple times.