braidEvery once in a while, a game comes along that challenges gamers to think. Not just in a problem solving way, but a way to really think about the message that the game is trying to convey. Braid is one of those games. On the surface, the game resembles other platformers, specifically Super Mario Brothers. Even the plot seems like something you’ve seen before: the princess has been kidnapped by a monster, and you make your way through different worlds, only to be told again and again that the princess is in another castle. However, the game’s method of story telling, art style, and mechanics turn the whole thing over on its head.

You play as a young man named Tim who is out to save the princess. Very little is known about Tim, the princess, or their relationship. The text that precedes each level only gives bits and pieces of what happened, and all we know for sure is that Tim made a huge mistake that pushed the princess away from him. However, we have no clear idea what this mistake it. Tim has special time warping powers which he must use to make his way through each level and put together each puzzle. Each world contains different themes and devices that players must master. It’s challenge, but the shock ending, which forces players to make their own conclusion, makes it well worth it.

If there was one minor gripe with the game, it’s that its price is a bit much considering its length. Even with that considered, Braid is a masterpiece, and it’s an excellent example of video games as an art form.