Author Topic: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?  (Read 9237 times)

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Offline matt oz

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Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« on: August 08, 2008, 01:51:38 PM »
Wow.  That's all I can say as I play through this game.

The game came out on XBox Live Arcade this week.  I know there was a lot of hype for it, but I didn't really pay attention to it, because I mistakenly thought the game was a shooter, because that's all that's ever released on XBLA.  So I went into the demo with no preconceptions, and I was completely blown away from the beginning.



The art style is just stunning.  It's like you're playing inside an impressionist painting.  Since I play my 360 on a regular CRT TV, I don't get the benefit of HD graphics.  In fact, most games I've played on the 360 don't really amaze me graphically, because they don't look that much better than some last gen games.  It's all about art direction, so in my opinion, this game has some of the best graphics I've seen on the 360.

The gameplay is truly innovative.  Without giving too much away, your character has the ability to control time in order to reach puzzle pieces to complete puzzles and advance the story.  In the first game world, it seems almost derivative of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.  But each world has a unique time control ability, and that's what makes the puzzles so innovative.  There's one puzzle in world 6 involving an elevator.  At this point, you know that you need a particular ability, and it's all about figuring out exactly when and where to use it.  Once I figured out what I needed to do, I just smiled and didn't stop until I had completed the level.  It was truly ingenious.

It's almost like each puzzle piece has a unique way to retrieve it.  Only in the early worlds do you find repeat methods to obtain the pieces.  Later on, it's all lateral thinking as you make your way through the game.  There are a lot of challenges in the game, but they're implemented so well that it's not frustrating, and once you figure it out, it's really rewarding.  This is where I think the comparisons to Portal are really apt.  For example, I need one more puzzle piece in world 3 to complete the puzzle, but there's no way I'm gonna cheat and find a walkthrough for it.  I'm gonna keep trying until I figure it out, because I know it'll be so much more rewarding that way.  It was the same way for me in Portal, particularly the challenge levels.  I know I can do it, I just have to wrap my brain around it the right way.

I know there's a few NWRers who are currently playing this, too.  I know Caliban's got like 20 more puzzle pieces than I do.  What are everyone else's thoughts on this?  2D game of the year?  Greatest puzzle/platformer ever?  Totally overrated?
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Offline Schadenfreude

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2008, 03:58:19 PM »
I completed it last last night and it was an delightful experience throughout. The puzzles are very well thought out and I encourage you to continue solving the problems without help. I was able to and it really does make it more enjoyable. I think the difficulty is just right. If I couldn't figure out a puzzle, after solving another one I would come back and would have a break through. I don't know if you've gotten to it yet, but one of my favorite puzzles is the Hunt in World. I won't spoil what happens after you get all the puzzle pieces, but I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Overall a wonderful game that I only wish had been a bit cheaper, but I feel I got my $15 worth.

Offline Bill Aurion

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2008, 04:00:20 PM »
The idea of having the ability to control time is by no means new, but the developers implemented it quite well for the most part (some of the puzzles I have found frustrating to the point of silly, but that may just be me)...The fact that a "story" is implemented is annoying, but the atmosphere and music are amazing and I tend to forget that there was one to begin with...

If I were to make an artistic comparison, I'd say Braid is to 360 as LostWinds is to Wii, and that is a very strong compliment...If you have the points, definitely use them on this... =)
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Offline matt oz

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2008, 04:22:45 PM »
Overall a wonderful game that I only wish had been a bit cheaper, but I feel I got my $15 worth.

Yes, that's something I forgot to mention in the original post.  When I first played through the demo, I was hooked.  When I saw it was 1200 points, I hesitated for a day, then decided to take the plunge.  It's definitely worth the price though.  I believe Portal is going to be 1200 points when it's on the marketplace this fall as well, so that's pretty comparable.
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Offline Flames_of_chaos

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2008, 04:29:05 PM »
The game really should of been 10 dollars, the game has a wonderful art direction but I hate how a lot of things have to be pinpoint precise I get so frustrated at the game that I don't even want to play it anymore.
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Offline Caliban

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2008, 07:02:10 PM »
This game is great, but I do need help to get my last 4 puzzle pieces, and from what I've seen of those last 4 pieces they have solutions that I would never think of trying.

Offline Schadenfreude

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2008, 09:06:14 PM »
This game is great, but I do need help to get my last 4 puzzle pieces, and from what I've seen of those last 4 pieces they have solutions that I would never think of trying.

You should really try to solve them yourself, but you can hit me up on AIM (ICallItFutile) or MSN (gameguy24@gmail.com) for help.

Offline Caliban

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2008, 10:34:14 PM »
Thanks, but I watched a couple of youtube videos to help me. I actually managed to solve by myself 1/4 puzzles that I had left.
I'm mostly an instant gratification kind of guy, so if I get stuck I either give up after a few tries, or just use some help.

I would say that the end was wierd though, unless of course there's more to it than what I experienced.

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Offline LuigiHann

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2008, 12:30:58 PM »
I was going to make a thread about this. This is the first game in quite a while that had me genuinely thinking about it after I stopped playing.

Offline matt oz

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2008, 07:26:27 PM »
I finally beat this yesterday.  I had to use a walkthrough for one puzzle piece.  Coincidentally, it's the puzzle piece in the picture I posted in the OP.  First, I used a text walkthrough and still couldn't figure it out.  Then I had to watch a video on YouTube.  The solution was something I never would have thought of, so I don't really feel like I cheated myself.

The ending was certainly interesting.  The story is much deeper than what's presented at the beginning.  I know that I'm missing something, because I'm not really clear on most of it.  Who is the Princess?  Is it his mother?  A lover?  His mother/lover?  A stranger?  An abstract idea?  The alternate text in the epilogue makes even less sense out of everything.  There's one screen I can't read it on though.

Then there's the whole thing with the stars.  I don't know how people discovered this.  I have a list of the levels they appear on, and I've made it to one, but wasn't able to actually get it.  The unfortunate thing is that if you've already completed the puzzle for World 3, you have to start your game over to get one of the stars.  So I'm contemplating if I should start over before trying to get any stars.
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Offline Schadenfreude

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2008, 07:42:50 PM »
Correct me if I'm wrong matt, but to get the puzzle piece in the picture above, you had to have your shadow stand below the drop in the middle of the picture, wait for the enemy to fall on it, then jump off the enemy as it flies through the air to get to the platform above the door. If so, I can't believe I ever thought of it.  :D
« Last Edit: August 10, 2008, 10:11:30 PM by Schadenfreude »

Offline Bill Aurion

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2008, 08:28:17 PM »
I finally beat this yesterday.  I had to use a walkthrough for one puzzle piece.  Coincidentally, it's the puzzle piece in the picture I posted in the OP.

I hate this puzzle piece... >=|
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Offline Caliban

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2008, 09:42:38 PM »
It seems I wasn't the only one stuck on that puzzle piece too, haha, and I was surprised to see the solution too.

I've barely read on the subject of these stars, yet I do feel compelled to check what they're all about once I get some rest after a tiresome weekend.

Oh, one more thing. This game brought me back good memories of playing The Lost Vikings. Blizzard, get on it, bring back awesomeness.

Offline matt oz

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2008, 11:20:46 PM »
Correct me if I'm wrong matt, but to get the puzzle piece in the picture above, you had to have your shadow stand below the drop in the middle of the picture, wait for the enemy to fall on it, then jump off the enemy as it flies through the air to get to the platform above the door. If so, I can't believe I ever thought of it.  :D

Yeah, that's right.  I think if I had spent more time with the puzzle, I may have accidentally come across the solution.  But as it was, I had spent over an hour on that piece and decided it was time for help.  I thought World 5 was the hardest overall.  I didn't really like the time mechanic that was introduced, and I had trouble grasping it in certain places.  I've heard a lot of people say they had trouble with World 6, but I thought that was one of the simplest.  6's time mechanic just made sense to me, and I rarely had to think about how to use it.

I played through the final level again earlier, and it gave me goosebumps all over again.  I took notice of the little things, like how it looks like the princess is pushing against a barrier as you go forward, but when it's played in reverse, it turns out she stops to catch her breath.  Also, her rescuer has red hair.  Is that Tim's alter-ego?  How he imagines himself?  What he wishes he could be?  I love this game!

Regarding the epilogue text, I was reading somewhere else (don't have the link, sorry), that there are a lot of connections between the game's story and the Manhattan Project.  It made sense as I was reading it, but some of it seemed like a stretch.  It also didn't take into account 90% of the book text in Worlds 2-6.  There are probably dozens of interpretations of all of it, but I thought the most interesting part was the mention of his mother's braid, which is why I vote for incest as the theme of this game!

(It was too tempting not to leave incest by itself.  Sorry.)
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Offline Schadenfreude

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2008, 12:07:51 AM »
I haven't put much thought into the story, although I thought the ending was really good (I've played it multiple times already).

I thought World 5 was easier then World 4 and 6 personally. I think the one you got stuck on was the last one I got in World 5, but I still had multiple puzzle pieces left to get in World 4 and 6 at that point.

Offline Bill Aurion

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2008, 03:56:30 PM »
I played through the final level again earlier, and it gave me goosebumps all over again.  I took notice of the little things, like how it looks like the princess is pushing against a barrier as you go forward, but when it's played in reverse, it turns out she stops to catch her breath.  Also, her rescuer has red hair.  Is that Tim's alter-ego?  How he imagines himself?  What he wishes he could be?  I love this game!

Having just finished the game (the normal ending, that is...I haven't found any of those stars or what-have-you...), here's my take on it...Tim desires the Princess, and thus goes to all this trouble to try and find her.  Then in the final level it looks like Tim is trying to rescue her, but the first thing that caught my eye that I thought was odd was the knight yelling "Come down here!"  Don't you mean "Come UP"?  Then later on there's the chandelier that fixed itself...What was the point of that?  Then the reality of it struck me in the rewind...Tim was actually CHASING her and she was attempting to stop him, putting up barriers and trying to drop the chandelier on his head...Then the knight comes and saves her ("Come down here!" was to the princess, not Tim!)  Such a clever ending!
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Offline Caliban

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2008, 08:08:34 PM »
Holy crap, that actually makes some sense. Good job, Bill.

Offline matt oz

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2008, 12:00:09 AM »
Holy crap, that actually makes some sense. Good job, Bill.

um, not to be rude or anything, but did you not get that the first time you played through the ending?  It was a great twist that honestly gave me goosebumps.

The fact that the princess is trying to escape from Tim is undeniable, but I'm more interested in figuring out who/what she represents exactly.  I'm sure she's just one of those "whatever you want it be" symbols, but after reading all the text in the game, it could conceivably Tim's lover, his mother, or the atomic bomb.  My biggest question, though, is this: do Worlds 2-6 come before or after World 1?  Is Tim going through everything in the game to reach the princess for the first time, or is he doing it to find her again?

Someone on a message board somewhere pointed out that the nautical flags at the end of each level relay messages telling Tim to stop, to varying degrees.  Then there's the dinosaur at the end of each level who eventually asks if the princess even exists.  It's all very confusing, but very interesting.

I've only got 1 star to go.  I had a list of all the levels they could be found on, so that's how I got them.  I needed a video walkthrough for one of them though, because it wasn't gonna happen otherwise.  The fact that there's no mention of them anywhere in the game (and no achievements for them, either), kind of reminds me of old school platformers that had different ways to solve levels that you may never even find.  It kind of makes me want to break out Super Mario World and play through it again.
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Offline Bill Aurion

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2008, 04:53:48 PM »
I'm sure she's just one of those "whatever you want it be" symbols, but after reading all the text in the game, it could conceivably

Tim's lover, his mother, or the atomic bomb.  My biggest question, though, is this: do Worlds 2-6 come before or after World 1?  Is Tim going through everything in the game to reach the princess for the first time, or is he doing it to find her again?

Someone on a message board somewhere pointed out that the nautical flags at the end of each level relay messages telling Tim to stop, to varying degrees.  Then there's the dinosaur at the end of each level who eventually asks if the princess even exists.  It's all very confusing, but very interesting.[/spoiler]

Well the whole last level involves "going back in time" (the flower reverting back to the bulb), so I'd say that it's the first time...Or at least a clockwork cycle of trying to find "the princess" (which is a vague entity in itself)

I know I'm really going out on a limb with this idea, but I'd like to add another theory to the mix...What if the game is in fact a parody on the false reality that gamers like to create for themselves?  First, there's the whole issue with Tim "going out to save the Princess," with no real rhyme or reason, nor any explanation of how or why the Princess was "kidnapped" in the first place...The player doesn't know why he's doing it, but we are led to assume he must have a good reason...Why?  Because that's what games are about, right?  It's a false misconception based off experience from playing games for our entire lives...

Second, remember the scene where Tim is at the cafe and then at the movies...Everyone around him is enjoying their surroundings, living life to the fullest, yet he questions every little detail within the movie, even "the angle of a plume of smoke"...What does this remind me of?  Hardcore gamers, and the fact that they look over every detail of a game with a magnifying glass, forgetting the reason they first started playing games in the first place: to have fun.  In fact, you could probably compare the rest of the movie goers to casual gamers, but I won't get into that...

Third, the whole symbolism with the "rewinding time" gameplay...When we fail in a game, what do we do?  We just start over, right?  There's no real need to think of the consequences, and ironically enough, there's also no need to think of the consequences in this game either.  In fact, you CANNOT DIE AT ALL...

Fourth, one of the stars involves WAITING TWO HOURS...Another jab at the mindset of a hardcore gamer who will do just that in order to get something in a game...

Finally, we come to the Princess...Honestly, I don't think the Princess has any real set meaning outside being something that the character (or the player, if you think about it) desires and cannot have...I personally find the Knight to be more intriguing, because as matt oz brought up before, he SEEMS kind of similar to the main character.  However, I don't think it is really "what the main character wishes he could be," because that would completely negate the whole purpose of the stalker/chase scene, but instead a "What if?" character.  A "What if Tim (a.k.a. the hardcore gamer) didn't take this path" type of character...

This "childish mind of a gamer" mentality appears to stretch even to the epilogue, where Tim builds a castle from blocks (symbolizing all of the puzzles he completed), though it could potentially symbolize maturation through experience, and that experience is his fortress...


But I think there are many ways to take the story, and it could have been vague solely for that purpose...
« Last Edit: August 14, 2008, 04:57:20 PM by Bill Aurion »
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Offline matt oz

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2008, 12:35:11 AM »
Whoo, I got the final achievement!  I just completed a speed run at 42:something.  It was my second full run, so I'm pleased with myself.  I started a bunch of times, but usually gave up on one of the levels in World 3 when the stupid cat-bunny kept killing me.  I think I could still cut 3 or 4 minutes off my time, too.

Pro tip: When attempting a speed run, be sure to practice certain tricky puzzles beforehand.  Particularly Fickle Companion (World 4), Window of Opportunity (World 5), and Impassable Foliage (World 6).  You don't want to reach a puzzle and have to figure out how to solve it all over again.
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Offline Caliban

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2008, 10:26:05 PM »
um, not to be rude or anything, but did you not get that the first time you played through the ending?  It was a great twist that honestly gave me goosebumps.

I felt no rudness, and yeah I didn't get it on my first playthrough hahaha, but I like reading your insightful posts just as much as Bill's posts.

Offline Maverick

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2008, 04:46:56 AM »
I just bought this today, and have discovered that I am a very, very dumb person.  :(
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Offline bustin98

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2008, 12:02:15 PM »
I just bought this today, and have discovered that I am a very, very dumb person.  :(

Uh oh. The secret's out.

Don't be so hard on yourself.

Offline Maverick

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2008, 12:36:37 PM »
I'm just impatient.  I see the puzzle pieces and go... "screw this" and just run to the door.  Of course I was running through the entire game at once.  I imagine that I'll be able to take the time to figure out to get them if I take it one section at a time for the ones I'm missing.
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Offline KDR_11k

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Re: Braid (XBLA) - The next Portal?
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2008, 01:53:59 PM »
I got all pieces without much trouble bbeyond the beginning where I wasn't familiar with the mechanics. The pictured one was no problem for me since I noticed earlier in that level that enemies bounce off you.

I found World 4 the hardest, 5 was a pushover to me.

I suck at interpretations so I won't try to make any sense of the story, never mind I lost track of the green books between levels very quickly. I never really took the search for the "princess" very seriously and the game made it pretty clear that Tim was an asshole and scared the "princess" away if you take the green books at face value... That the ending was an attempt to kill him seemed interesting but then again it was kinda inconsistent in places (facing the other direction for one already changes the scene massively).

For some reason the ending reminded me a bit of Cho Ren Sha 68k, the final stage is called Stage 0 and when you defeat the final boss it flies offscreen and... causes the very explosion you saw at the beginning of the game.

The bunny seemed like a reference to the bunny from Quest For The Holy Grail... Well, you're not exactly reaching your grail either and it's always in another castle...

The hardcore theory makes sense though it is ironic then that the game is a 360 exclusive...