Braid, Anniversary Edition Review – The Time is Right

Braid, Anniversary Edition Review

If you missed out on Braid’s original 2008 release, do yourself a favor and don’t miss it this time around. ‘Braid, Anniversary Edition’ is a brilliant update to an already spectacular game. It does so much more than offer visual improvements and developer commentary. With steady footing amidst a field of apropos bliss, ‘Braid, Anniversary Edition’ reached through the fourth wall, making me yearn for a time long ago lost—a fitting feeling, given Braid’s heartbreaking narrative.

Braid tells the story of a man named Tim, searching for a princess. As you go from world to world, a tale of loss, obsession, time, and disappointment plays out like a beautifully crafted poem. Combined with its 2D side-scrolling aesthetic, I wouldn’t blame you if you assumed Braid to be a knockoff Super Mario game. However, its similarities with the iconic Nintendo franchise exist only on the surface. Despite the obvious influences, Braid manages to carve out a unique corner of its own, never losing sight of its true intentions.

Hook, Line, Sinker

Braid’s hook relies heavily on its time-based mechanics. Tim initially starts only being able to rewind time, though, as the player progresses, he gains the ability to do things like slow time or create clones of himself. It’s within this system that Braid challenges players to discover ways to collect puzzle pieces scattered throughout its levels. Without solving these puzzles, the whole story never becomes complete. And while some of the solutions are quickly figured out, many of them will put your thinking skills to the test in some of the most clever ways imaginable.

Equally as impressive as Braid’s writing and mechanics, its world is absolutely stunning. Filled with hand-drawn artwork from the talented duo of Mike Corriero and David Hellman, each level is brought to life with a breathtaking style that never ceases to amaze. ‘Braid, Anniversary Edition’ successfully takes what was already an incredible visual experience and turns the dial up to eleven. Everything from blades of grass to enemies to Tim himself has been painstakingly updated to create an even better version of what was already considered one of the most gorgeous games ever made. If you prefer to experience Braid in its original form, you’ll be pleased to know that a click of the right stick will instantly swap between the new and classic versions.

Pure Art

Another part of Braid that has been praised for over fifteen years is its stellar, original score. Certain sections in ‘Braid, Anniversary Edition’ retain the original tracks, but many have also been reworked to capture the mood of specific stages more effectively. Braid’s narrative devolves into darker, shadowy territory with each passing level. While the original had no issues with appropriately bottling this essence, ‘Braid, Anniversary Edition’ takes things further, delivering an even moodier, atmospheric soundtrack that perfectly encapsulates its painful subject matter.

The aforementioned improvements aren’t the end of the line for ‘Braid, Anniversary Edition,’ either. A boatload of developer commentaries await players who finish the main story. These commentaries are stuffed with interesting knowledge about the difficulties in making Braid, as well as game development in general. I initially assumed I would power my way through them. Instead, I found myself clamoring for more as soon as one was finished.

Time Doesn’t Stand Still

More importantly for most, ‘Braid, Anniversary Edition’ also offers 40 brand-new levels that put my puzzle-solving abilities to the limit. Be warned, some of these aren’t for the faint of heart. However, they’re equally rewarding as discovering the solutions to the original all those years ago. It’s genuinely impressive that the playable level count has more than doubled. ‘Braid, Anniversary Edition’ is by no means a run-of-the-mill remaster, thrown together with little effort for a quick buck. It should be considered a shining example of what a modern upgrade needs to be.

‘Braid, Anniversary Edition’ is tremendous. It takes everything the original did so well and tweaks it just enough to feel fresh while maintaining its identity. Fans of the original will have a blast discovering what all is new. Newcomers will be astounded at the quality of what is often considered one of the greatest games of all time. Whether you belong to the former or the latter, do yourself a favor and don’t miss this.

***A Switch code was provided for this review***

The Good

  • Gorgeous visuals
  • Breathtaking soundtrack
  • Hard-hitting narrative
  • Developer commentaries
  • 40 new levels

The Bad

  • Minor frame hiccups on Switch
  • Some may find puzzles a bit too hard