The digital delights of Sony’s scrumptious PlayStation Network service know no bounds. Aside from letting punters compete in online gaming, stream films, browse the Internet and more, its premier attraction rests in the copious supply of downloadable games ripe for the picking. From PSN exclusives to PSOne Classics, minis and plain old add-on content, Sony’s online space is chock full of goodies battling it out for your hard-earned digital dollars.
Welcome back to another installment of Inside PlayStation Network, where every Monday – Friday we’ll pluck a PSN release—be it new or old—and put it in the spotlight for a thorough dissection. Fancy getting a new PSN game but don’t know what one to plump for? Perhaps this feature will help. Didn’t realize that a game was available in your region until now? We've got you covered. Or, perhaps you were musing over what those lucky Japanese folk were tucking into over in the Land of the Rising Sun? You can be sure our coverage will extend to those rare regional exclusives as much as those firmly embedded on the public consciousness.
For our latest entry, we shine the spotlight on the celebrated 2D platform outing, Braid.
Developer: Hothead Games
Region(s) available: North America, Europe
It’s fair to say that Braid turned quite a few heads upon its Xbox 360 debut back in 2008. Conceived by Jonathan Blow, the game garnered universal acclaim for its combination of familiar platforming elements and unique time-based mechanics, not to mention its emotionally powerful narrative. The end result? A gripping, cerebrally-challenging monster hit that scooped up numerous awards and won the hearts of countless gamers around the globe. Indeed, PlayStation 3 owners had reason to feel they were missing out on something special, though fortunately, Braid finally made a running jump to PSN in 2009.
Braid is a game where you’ll need your thinking cap on for pretty much the whole experience. The game centres on chap named Tim, who has made a bit of a boo-boo that ultimately cost him the life of his beloved. As such, our hero must now embark on a quest to extricate the poor lass from the clutches of an evil creature. Along the way, Tim will muse over various issues, commonly focusing on his desire to change the past – and it’s here that the game’s time-shifting component comes into play. Yep, Braid lets you fiddle with time at the push of a button, allowing you to rewind events that let you avoid being killed by an enemy or missing a crucial jump.
This mechanic goes beyond ironing out any creases in your performance, though. Each world boasts its own unique take on the manipulation of time, though one of the most common features comes in the form of green objects and foes that are unaffected by the time shift. For example, unlock a green door and rewind time, and it’ll still remain open for you to explore. Latter stages implement their own twists to the formula keeping things fresh, and you’ll be given different time tools to work with depending on the world you’re currently in. You may find yourself shifting time forward in one stage simply by walking, while another has you creating a shadow of yourself whenever you turn the clocks back which can be used to bonk enemies on the head, activate switches and unlock doors.
Outside of the bread-and-butter time shifting shenanigans, Braid also offers plenty of opportunity to spend time gobbling up collectibles. There’s 12 puzzle pieces to hoover up in the game’s first five worlds, and only by netting all 60 will you get to clap eyes on the game’s poignant conclusion. These items are intelligently placed, so don’t expect to bag all of them during your first play-through. Elsewhere, Braid also chucks in some neat references to the adventures of a certain plucky plumber, from its use of the age-old platforming paradigm of bopping foes on the heads, plant-life that come creeping out of pipes to the flag poles that signal the climax of each world. Evidently, Braid’s creators aren’t afraid of doffing their cap to Mario and his genre-defining antics. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t be surprised to see other creators giving the nod to Braid’s memorable antics in the not-too-distant future.
That’s it for this week. Join us again Monday as we once again have another gander Inside PlayStation Network.