TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Braid, Anniversary Edition’

It’s always weird when games that feel like they’re still relatively new in my mind go and celebrate some sort of major milestone anniversary and make me realize that actually I am in fact old. Case in point: Braid, Anniversary Edition is a remastered release of the seminal indie game hit from 2008, which somehow is almost 16 years old now. I remember the hype surrounding Braid ahead of its original release on Xbox Live Arcade, and it was among the first class of big mainstream indie titles that led to the “indie boom" of the next several years, which coincided nicely with the release of the iPhone and subsequent explosion of indie games on mobile. Seeing this game now on mobile devices feels like coming full circle.

Setting aside Braid’s historical value, it’s also just an absolute masterpiece in game design. Mechanically it does things with time manipulation that melted my late-20s brain back in the day, and playing through the game again with the release of Anniversary Edition has been like experiencing the game for the first time all over again. It plays well on the touchscreen as there aren’t too many areas in the game that demand precision, but I am finding I’m favoring playing it with my Backbone controller. Also, the most dramatic new element in this release is the completely repainted graphics done up in stunning 4K. I LOVE when remastered games allow you to switch between new visuals and the original visuals on the fly, and that is the case here. What’s funny though is that the original visuals in no way look bad, and really are pretty timeless, but it’s hard to argue against the gorgeous new high resolution artwork and especially the improved animations. I imagine the difference between the old and new art would be a lot more dramatic on screen larger than my iPhone 15 Pro’s.

While that new artwork is great, the real treat in this release is the new content. This is largely centered around the more than 15 hours of behind the scenes audio commentary from developer Jonathan Blow, artist David Hellman, and others who all had a hand in creating Braid nearly two decades ago. There is an entire new overworld to explore where all this commentary is broken up into various categories and topics, and there’s even brand new levels to play through as well as alternate versions of existing levels to let you see how the game might have turned out had different design choices been made. You can also listen to an accompanying commentary track as you play through the game normally, similar to how other games have done this sort of thing, but the way the developers have created almost like an entire second game out of the bonus content in Braid, Anniversary Edition is truly remarkable.

Playing through Braid all over again, all these years later, has been an absolute treat for this old gamer. I can’t wait to carve out some time to really dive into all the commentary and additional content, and this entire package feels like a love letter from the developers to the fans of Braid. So often “remaster" just means taking an old game and giving it a modern facelift, but I far prefer when instead it’s more of a celebration of said game, and that’s exactly what Braid, Anniversary Edition is. If you have Netflix it’s a no-brainer to download this one onto your device of choice, and if you don’t have Netflix, well, I’d suggest picking this one up on any of the available platforms it’s on. For a second opinion as well as impressions on multiple platforms, please check out our review of Braid, Anniversary Edition from earlier this week.

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