Over the years, Indie games have been characterized as being sometimes fun, but rarely providing a truly moving experience. Braid is a game that shatters any prenotion about Indie games, and will change your mind about videogames in every way. It's so elegant yet so enthralling that it's no wonder that it was nominated by many publications for Game of the Year.
Every aspect of the game plays out so well that it's almost scary and sad. It's scary that a person was able to develop a game that caters to gamers so well. Think of it as going to a restaurant and having a chef that doesn't know you, make a dish that you love without you ordering it. The sad thing is that a game like this would never happen with a big gaming studio.
Braid's storyline is simple yet clearly left up to interpretation by the gamer. In each world, there is a set of books that will tell the story of the protagonist, Tim, and a princess who he had a falling out with. The storyline is like a storybook story that plays out so well even though you're in the dark about so much. Most notably about the story is the ending that has caused a lot of discussion among gamers as it's left open to interpretation.
The gameplay for Braid is a combination of platform, puzzle and time manipulating. Throughout the six worlds, Tim must use the ability to control time to make his way through the level and collect several pieces of a puzzle throughout the levels within the world. While rewinding time prevents you from dying, like Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, the puzzle aspect of the game is using time manipulation to progress within the level. An example of this time manipulation is having Tim fall down a hole where a key lays. You have the key but Tim doesn't have a way to climb out of the whole, so you rewind time letting Tim go back out of the hole with key in hand. Of course, that's the simple side of it. Each world adds a new change into the time manipulation making the requirement of thinking outside the box.
I used the word elegant to describe Braid and it works so well. Yeah I could have said artistic but that's been played out. Each level is like a piece of art that you can take a photo of and put on your wall. It looks so good that it makes you wonder who the artistic genius was behind this beauty. Like the storyline, the art is so simple yet beautiful. The music just adds to the elegance, and once again makes you think how someone could come up with such a perfect sound to compliment the game. Each piece of music makes you want to just set the controller down and listen.
As expected with an independent game, there's not much in regards to length or replay value. The game can be beaten within several hours, and after completing it, you can play through it for the fastest times. Still, as a gamer, you owe it to yourself to play this game. It's just so worth it.