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It feels oddly surreal to be reviewing a classic like Braid in the year 2024. If one were to rewind back to 2008 when it first released onto Xbox Live Arcade, the video game landscape would look far different than it does today. Braid, alongside other indie classics like Super Meat Boy and Fez, reshaped the entire indie game industry, inspiring hundreds if not thousands of games in the years following its release. It proved that independent creators and their passion products can thrive on digital storefronts while holding their own against AAA releases at the time. In the years following its release, Braid has become one of the most notable indie games of all time, being featured in Indie Game: The Movie. While it never received a sequel, the release of Braid, Anniversary Edition provides fans of the original an excuse to revisit the world on modern platforms.

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For those unfamiliar with Braid, the game is a puzzle-platformer that revolves heavily around the use of time. You play as Tim, a man who has set out to rescue a princess captured by an evil monster (one of the many not-so-subtle references to platforming tropes). Beyond the initial setup, the story is largely interpretive. At the start of each of the game’s six worlds, there are several storybooks that provide some light storytelling elements as to the larger narrative at play, however much of the story is left for you to figure out. Depending on your preferences, this could be a positive or a negative, but it does add an additional layer of mysteriousness to the world you're being dropped into.

Much like you would expect, the goal of each stage is to solve the puzzles in front of you to reach the end of the level. This requires a mix of puzzle-solving, stomping on enemies, and utilizing your time travel abilities. Instead of lives and checkpoints, Tim has the ability to rewind time while holding down a button. This mechanic, combined with the expertly crafted puzzles, is arguably what made Braid stand out from the pack so many years ago. Making a mistake is not a punishment, rather an intrinsic part of the puzzle-solving process.

Each of the worlds in Braid also utilizes a unique time-themed mechanic. Sometimes time only moves when you do, other times rewinding creates a shadowy clone of yourself to help you solve puzzles. These are oftentimes the primary tools you'll need to collect the game’s major collectibles: the puzzle pieces. Most stages hold a handful of puzzle pieces to collect, usually hidden behind a tough puzzle. Despite the way they may look, these puzzle pieces are not optional, and collecting all of them is required to access the game’s final world and Braid’s ending. Some of Braid’s puzzles are incredibly obtuse or monotonous (looking at you, World 4’s Fickle Companion), and without a dedicated hint system in the game, these puzzles can get incredibly frustrating. Unless you're a master at puzzle solving, you'll likely need a guide to help you see everything Braid has to offer.

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While the main game of Braid is identical to the original release, there are some changes that come alongside the Anniversary Edition. Most notably, the game has received a complete graphical overhaul. Visual fidelity has come a long way since 2008, and with this remaster comes a more vibrant, hand-painted look. If you prefer the game’s original style, however, you can switch between new and classic graphics on the fly with the push of a button. Having that ability available at all times is always a nice touch for such a significant remaster, and it does highlight how much has changed between releases. Additionally, much of the game’s sound has been enhanced, with remixed tracks and enhanced sound design, complementing the graphical improvements quite well.

Besides the graphical upgrade, the Anniversary Edition also includes a playable commentary system. Accessed after beating the game (though this restriction can be bypassed), Tim is dropped into a new hub world that lets him enter doors to revisit the game’s levels, now with the ability to play developer commentary while you solve them again. In over 15 hours of commentary, Jonathan Blow and other guests discuss the game design, atmosphere, sound, and intentions behind each puzzle. For aspiring game developers and those enamoured by game design, this comprehensive look at Braid is spectacular. You're even able to play a complete run of the game with hand-picked developer commentary segments — something great for repeat playthroughs.

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For casual fans who may not be interested in a design class, there are a handful of new levels to explore as well. Most are built into the commentary world hub, with a few showcasing alternate level designs, but there are also 13 wholly original levels and a new set of puzzle pieces to collect. Given that the game is already short (roughly around six hours if you're an experienced puzzle fan), these added levels are a nice bonus, but won’t do much to increase your overall playtime.


Braid is undoubtedly a classic that revolutionized the indie game landscape, and it still has enough unique ideas to make it worth a playthrough for the first time today. Whether or not the Anniversary Edition is worth it, however, will largely depend on your experience with the original. For newcomers, the enhanced graphics and extra levels make this the definitive edition, and worthy of a purchase. Similarly, up-and-coming game developers will find lots of love and advice poured into the game’s comprehensive commentary system.

However, for those who have experienced Braid before, unless you're itching for a revisit, there may not be enough new content here to justify double dipping. Whether it's the original or the Anniversary Edition, though, Braid is still a game that should be experienced by everyone at least once.