E3 2008: Braid Impressions

We got tangled up in this creative puzzle game for Xbox Live Arcade.

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Few games on display at E3 2008 will win awards; one game already has. Braid won the Game Innovation award at the 2006 Independent Games Festival, and it looked ready to win some more when we saw it on display. Developed by Jonathan Blow, Braid is a quirky side-scrolling puzzle game starring an uncanny protagonist who is using his time-control abilities to correct an error he made in the past and presumably rescue his girlfriend, owner of the eponymous braid.

The first thing you'll notice when you see Braid is the quality of the visuals; this game is like a playable watercolor painting. The environments swim with luscious color and rippling light, creating a wonderfully imaginative setting. We saw the protagonist, a creepy, eager-looking little fellow, engage in several normal activities; he ran and jumped on enemy heads, and he road on clouds belched from the mouth of a cannon. But one thing we never saw him do was die. That's because there's no death in Braid; if you die you simply rewind time until you're alive again.

But that doesn't mean Braid will be easy, no. True to its name, it will be woven out of extremely complex puzzles that will push your thumbs and your brain to their limits. This game will be completely dedicated to making you think and will challenge the limits of puzzle convention. If you're looking for instant gratification, Braid will probably not satisfy any crack-rat, headshot twitch urges. But if you want a game to beat and galvanize your brain, Braid may be just the thing when it hits Xbox Live Arcade this summer.

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