Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Game Review: 'Braid Anniversary Edition'

Originally released in 2008, developer Jonathan Blow's "Braid" set the indie scene on fire. The 2D platformer satirized "Super Mario Bros." and other pop culture icons while also telling a deep, subversive tale that grows more complex the farther you advance.

An unequivocal masterpiece of minimalist game design, the game gets a remastered special edition not so much because it needed a fresh coat of paint, but because it deserves a victory lap in the manner of a Criterion home video release.

Just as with the simplicity of the original game, the additions are minimal and largely unobtrusive. Those who want to re-experience the game with some historical perspective have the opportunity to trigger a running commentary track that provides deep insight into the craft and strategy that went into nearly every pixel of the effort.

The game gets an HD makeover, but those who crave the original art design look can toggle back and forth between the new and former look. The ability to appreciate the game on multiple levels speaks to the depth and strength of the rock-solid, deceptively intricate design factors at play.

"Braid Anniversary Edition" is a jubilant celebration of the game and the indie movement it spawned. No doubt responsible for inspiring a generation of fresh, vivid thinking in game design, the rereleased version stands as the definitive form of one of indie gaming's grandest treasures. I envy those who get to experience it the first time in this impressive form.

Publisher provided review code.


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