I bought Braid last week and have now put enough time in to be able to air my views.
The first thing which struck me about Braid was the price, I also know from other sites that it is causing a lot of discussion. At 1200 points it is one of the more expensive xbla games put there. Now a lot of people are complaining about it being more expensive than other xbla games saying it is a short experience and not worth the price. What I find interesting is this idea of a ‘correct’ price point or one that reflects value and so forth.
Most xbla games are priced at 800 or 1000 point which I think equates to US$8 or $10 respectively. What is interesting for me, as a creator of downloadable games is that US$8 or $10 is considered the highest you can go for a downloadable title without being percieved as too pricey.
Braid is a platform game in many respects and a puzzle game in many others. Now on previous platforms these games would flat out cost US$40. Admitedly that cost splits between manufacturing, distribution, publishing and the developer. Whereas on xbla that cost is split between the developer and Microsoft. Even so I think people are unfairly expecting lower prices than is fair just because a game is downloadable. For every copy Braid sells the developer will get US$8.4 which considering the time and effort which has gone into the game is not unreasonable! Seeing as it has as much play time, if not more, than a movie’s viewing time while costing the same is pretty good value!!
Initially simple to control Braid soon becomes quite a mental challenge. It is not that the conrols become more complex, more that the abilities you gave open up a wide range of possibilities.
At first you can rewind time and therefore your actions, while some objects remain how they were or how you changed them to be. Later you can do actions then rewind and do new ones while a shadow clone mimics your previous actions.
It is great fun and offers some real challenges. However I do have some critiscisms.
Each world has its own set of abilities which allow you to complete that worlds levels. However I feel it is a missed opportunity that you can’t use those abilities in earlier worlds to make them easier.
There are also a couple of puzzles which require such exacting perfection that although you may be doing the correct sequence or timing you are maybe just out by some small faction and therefore failing repeatedly. This makes one presume that our approach is wrong. A more forgiving tolerance would not have harmed Braid in my opinion.