Braid, a beautiful game for Xbox Arcade

Last night I went on Xbox Arcade/Live, and downloaded the trial version of Braid, this beautiful game that is a mix of adventure, storytelling and puzzles. It’s like playing a game made of paint. The visuals are like a water color painting. I was absolutely impressed by the visuals alone.

And the game play is interesting and great. Instead of having multiple lives and repeating a level, you manipulate time. So say you’re running along in an area, and you try to knock out an enemy character and mis the mark, and you get hit instead, or if you fall down into a pit of spikes, you can reverse time to work your way back to a safety point and try again. It forces you to learn a strategy of manipulating time to solve the board. There’s an example on one board where you have to go into the pit and get a key, but the pit has no way to get back up. The good thing is, this is a special key that you can carry when you reverse time. You jump into the pit, get the key, and reverse time to get back to a point before you jumped into the pit, but this time you have the key. It’s brillant. It reminds me of Prince of Persia – Sands of Time, but in that game, the ability is limited in the number of times you can use it.

There is also another game play experience that depending on the direction you walk in, you can move time forward or backwards, and if you don’t move at all, or just move vertically up or down, time stops. It definitely makes for some more challenging game play.

Many people love the game, but the biggest complaint right now is the price for some people. It will cost you 1200 points on XBL. That’s right 1200 points. Now, a number of games charge 800 points, that’s about $10, but a game at 1200 points works out to $15. Honestly, I don’t have a problem paying for a game that is worth it, and to me, so far, this game is worth it.

I’ve purchased Puzzle Quest, and have put in quite a number of hours in the game, and it costed me about 800 points. I’ve also purchased a number of other games in that price range, and I haven’t touched them in some time. So the argument that some have about the game being too expensive seems to be more a matter of distorted perspective. Distorted in the fact that a game, in general, can run from $10 in the bargin at a store, to $20 for a “classic” game, to $50-$70 for a brand new game. Just because a game is a downloadable, doesn’t make it less in value. If I can get an entire game like say Virtual Fighter 5 for XBL, should I complain if the price is over 1200 points? Absolutely not, because I’m getting the entire game. It’s real world value should at least be a little lower than if I were to buy it in the stores for a physical copy, because there are additional costs going into manufacturing a product with a physical disc, manual and box.

Overall, the criticisms on the price are the result of what people are used to. Once you try the game, I think you will have a different opinion and find the cost justifiable.