Braid PCPublisher: Independent
, but also on Xbox 360
UK Price (as reviewed): £9.99 via Steam
US Price (as reviewed): $15 via Steam
– the time-bending platform game that was either made by a pretentious snob or a hardworking genius, depending on your point of view, has now finally made it to the PC. The game, which was released on Xbox 360 last year and which went on to achieve great acclaim for independent games designer, Jonathan Blow, has taken it's sweet time to arrive on the PC, but it's finally done it after a series of delays.
The only question is, was it worth the wait?
If you're familiar with the game and have just checked in on the review to gauge how decent the PC port is, and whether there's any extra content that might merit picking up the PC version, the answer is no; not really. For those of you who aren't familiar with the game because the Xbox 360 version has passed you by then the answer is absolutely; yes.
The main flaw of Braid
on the PC you see is that it's actually not at all different from Braid on the Xbox 360
except for the fact that it's obviously on the PC
. Aside from the change in platform there's no difference. No new content, no hi-res textures, no extra levels or cheats and no free soundtrack, t-shirt or logo-emblazoned pocket watch included in the box. Not that there is a box of course; it's only available to buy in digital stores, just like the Xbox 360 version.
What that means then is that if you've literally been waiting for the PC version in the hope of getting something more than the Xbox had to offer then you're going to be slightly disappointed. The good news though is that if Braid
is new to you then you won't have had your hopes built up and can be as blown away as we were when we first laid eyes on the game.
If that's the case then you'll need a quick introduction, so here goes. Braid
is about a man in a suit called Tim. Tim is looking for someone he calls The Princess. Tim does this by solving complex puzzles that are all based on his abilities to alter time – abilities which manifest differently in each level. Sometimes Tim can rewind time at will, sometimes he can interact with past or future events or sometimes he can fuse time and space together, it really depends on the level. In between the different worlds Tim assembles jigsaws and thinks about his life.
If you are new to Braid
then it's worth laying out some of the fundamental facts that make the game so engaging too. For starters it's animated in a very, very beautiful and painterly art style and accompanied by some very delicate and elegant music – two elements that combine to make the game calming and meditative no matter how hard the puzzles are. Not that you should be put off by how hard it is though, as everything in Braid
is optional. Both the plot and the puzzles can be utterly bypassed if you choose.
What players end up with then is a game, which we very rightly said, floated towards excellence in our first review. Braid
is a beautiful and emotional to the point of transcendence, even if a lot of what it is is often annoyingly perplexing.
The only fault with the game is that it's taken so long to make it to the PC – almost a whole year – and has nothing really concrete to show for the effort. We don't want to sound greedy, but a downloadable soundtrack or concept art gallery would have been a predictable but effective way to incentivise and reward fans. The fact that there is none is a bit of a let-down then.
Worse than that though is the fact even though Blow has had more than a year to port the game from Xbox 360 to PC the game now has more flaws than it did before. The release was delayed by a week due to problems with DirectX, yet there are still V-sync problems for many high-end PC users (though a workaround
is available until the first patch), as well as other known errors
Compounding the problem is the lack of certain features which PC players will certainly expect – like being able to alter the controls, resolution or graphics. All you can do is change the screen size.
We're loath to whine about Braid
– because it really is a fantastic game that everyone should play. It's difficult without being unfair and it has a gentle whimsy and charm to it that make it both endlessly endearing and constantly relevant. It's just a shame that despite the fact Blow has taken nearly a year to release Braid
on the PC there's nothing concrete to show for it except for the crash reports of an unfortunate few. Braid
is a wonderful game and you should definitely consider buying it – but if you've got an Xbox 360 then you'd be just as well off buying it for that instead, if not better.