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SpriteClub and Braid

February 23rd, 2010

Last month saw the first meet up for Sprite Club, a group like a book reading club but for computer games. It involves playing a single game for a month and then getting together in a pub (with people skyping in from Sweden and Japan making it awesomely international) and debating the pros and cons of the game.

This month the game to play and review was Braid, after the get together and debate session we had to write a mini review to stick on the website. Below is my amazingly articulate review…

Really got mixed opinions on this one! Braid for once uses the rewinding time ability as an interesting core gameplay mechanic rather than just saving you from your own lameness (PoP). The puzzles are difficult and give you a great feeling once overcome but the learning curve is very steep and by the time you’ve properly grasped a mechanic you stop using it. Games like Portal slowly introduce you to the concepts and teach you to think laterally, Braid chucks them at you and sits their gloating when you’re too stupid to complete the puzzle.

The art style really is beautiful with a wonderful hand painted effect and the music compliments the visuals and the gameplay, hauntingly beautiful yet nightmarish when you are failing to solve a puzzle and continuously reversing time.

For the vast majority of the game the story is pretentious wank and the mechanism used to convey it is far to dull for you to bother to take it in, but if you manage to get to the final/first world (I admit I cheated for 2 puzzle pieces in order to get there) the final reveal makes up for the previous hard slog. The final levels are brilliantly designed and executed and manage to convey the story in an interesting and engaging way. Shame it couldn’t all have been like that.

In summation; clever if irritating gameplay, beautiful presentation, stupid story but made up by a wonderful ending.

7.5 / 10

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