Braid: Anniversary Edition review for PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, PC

Platform: PS5
Also On: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Switch, PC
Publisher: Thekla, Inc.
Developer: Thekla, Inc.
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

It’s crazy to think how long it has been since we first played Braid 16 years ago. Looking back two console generations — the Xbox 360 was peak gaming, especially with the plethora of indie games on Xbox Live Arcade. For those not familiar, Braid was an indie puzzle platformer by designer Jonathan Blow that had a unique rewind component to help you re-attempt a failed puzzle or even the death of your character.

As you progress the worlds, your character gains new abilities that help you revisit levels to collect puzzle pieces that were not accessible before. Each world has a puzzle to solve, which reveals an image that helps to “Paint” the picture of the story that you will unveil.

Despite the game’s age, I feel so many in the younger generation have not experienced it and this is a better time than ever to jump in so I will stay away from spoilers. One of the biggest draws to the game back then was the graphics. Each level was carefully handcrafted and painted which was and to this day purely stunning.

The real question is, 16 years later, will it get the same love? With so many games inspired by Braid over the years, I feel it’s going to get lost in the noise of so many indie titles now. This is not to discredit the game, but more of the publisher and lack of marketing for the game even leading to the release, where it was very difficult to find on the PlayStation Store as mentioned by the game’s creator, Jonathan Blow. The good news is that several days after launch, the game was moved up on the new release page.

Braid: Anniversary Edition plays like I remember, but with the current log of games I’ve been playing, it doesn’t hit the same way it did when it was initially released for me. This may be in part due to knowing the story component which I will not spoil, but even back then I did not revisit it once I completed the game. The puzzles are still remarkable and still as difficult as ever since I barely remember how to complete them.

For any returning players, there is a whole new world that was created with a unique component along with a large variety of even more difficult levels. Each portion contains audio commentary from the creator Jonathan Blow and others from the team. This alone is a great addition to the game and where I spent most of my playtime.

Games like Braid are best experienced when playing with little knowledge of gameplay and/or story. While the levels are challenging, this was one of the first games I remember feeling a true sense of accomplishment once each level was completed. It’s an inexpensive title that is worth the price of admission, and if you have played it before and may not be interested in revisiting it, I would encourage you to recommend it to newcomers so it can grow a new fanbase.

Note: Thekla, Inc. provided us with a Braid: Anniversary Edition PlayStation code for review purposes.

Score: 8.5