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Number None Braid review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £15
(around £11)

Last year, this downloadable puzzle and platform game caused quite a stir on the Xbox 360.

Now PC gamers can find out what all the fuss is about. On the surface, Braid looks like a Mario-inspired platform game, with cutesy enemies, floating platforms and a princess to rescue, but it brilliantly subverts the genre.

Tim and his Princess were in love, but mistrust and miscommunication drove them apart, leaving him with broken memories and a painful recollection of her braided hair. This far-from-story-book romance sets the scene for your quest to reconstruct Tim’s past and undo the mistakes that drove them apart.

To do this, Tim must collect puzzle pieces that are scattered across several worlds, each of which represents a different set of memories. To aid him, Tim can reverse time. Such temporal manipulation isn’t just a handy way to avoid death – it’s vital to solving every puzzle. Rather than frantic action, the game sets you a sequence of cerebral challenges.

Some sections require precisely timed leaps from platform to platform but the real challenge is in taking advantage of each level’s unique properties. These are mind-bendingly imaginative. For example, time might run backwards whenever you move Tim to the left or a shadow-self will appear and repeat your actions every time you reverse time. Some objects and monsters are immune to time manipulation while others will rewind through time with you. Even the gentle music that accompanies every level sounds as good backwards as it does forwards.

Braid is brilliantly designed. Every new solution was a revelation that made us feel genuinely proud to have worked it out. Even better, it doesn’t demand hours of constant play – you can dip into it for an odd half-hour when you have the time and its open level design means that you can always move to a different puzzle if you’re stuck. It’s a fantastic achievement, and a bargain at this price.