I really, really like a good puzzle game. So when I saw Braid announced and read the raving critics, I was quite sure this was a game for me. I really wanted to like it. Then I downloaded the trial version... and pretty much hated it. So here are some critic's citations and how they resonated for me:
- It's beautiful
Well, excuse me but I find it ugly. To me, it looks like a Van Gogh wannabe under acid had tried to redesign Mario. But that's fine, even though I would have appreciated a saturation setting in the menu, I can love an unaesthetic, tacky game if it works well.
- Tight controls
Sure, the time control works well and is quite instinctive to use, but the rest felt amateurish to me, shareware-like. And the moving jumps are just a little too long, making it counter-intuitive to predict where you'll land, especially on moving targets. The controls worked against me more than for me. That would be fine-ish if I had an incentive to get used to the controls...
- Compelling story
Yeah, OK, the writing is fine. But it isn't integrated to the gameplay at all. Quite the reverse, actually, it's totally isolated from the game. The writing should serve the gameplay, and vice versa. They must be tightly woven together. So the game didn't make me want to care about the story, and the story doesn't save the game for me.
- It's all about the puzzles
That's the strange one. This is the point that should have redeemed all the rest. The idea is quite good and apparently I'm the only one who didn't like its execution. The puzzles in the demo were either way too simple to be interesting or quite hard with the game giving no clue whatsoever. Compare that with a Portal that only adds one concept at a time and makes sure there never is a wall of difficulty but always a smooth progression. Here, the game did nothing to make me care enough, so I just gave up.
- It costs $15
I wouldn't care about this one. I'm ready to pay for a good game, even if it's short, and $15 looks like an ok price to me for a few hours of fun.
So for me the jury's still out on this one. I'd be willing to try again but so far all the reasons I've seen people cite for loving it just didn't work for me.
Did you try Braid? Did you like it? What am I not getting in your opinion?