Brilliant time-shifting platform game about love lost.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The subject of the game is love, regret, and relationships. There are moral lessons to be learned about the way people treat their significant others, and the follies involved in the pursuit of perfection in our mates.

Positive role models

Players take the role of a character who admits that he has made mistakes in his life and in his relationship. He's not perfect, but he understands his flaws and wants to deal with them--if in fantastical ways.

Ease of play

The puzzles within this game can be extremely difficult. Plus the time-shifting play is extremely challenging.


Our hero jumps on his cartoon-like enemies, Mario style.


There is no sexually explicit material in the game, but it focuses on decidedly mature themes involving love and relationships.


One occurrence of the phrase "sons of bitches" at the end of the game. Otherwise clean.


Avid gamers will almost certainly recognize the homage paid to games like Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Braid is filled with complex moral messages and that its puzzles can be extremely difficult. Though there is little that might be deemed overtly offensive (no drugs, sex, or violence, and just one occurrence of the word "bitch"), the game's sophisticated themes have to do with relationships and love, and will likely be lost on those who haven't experienced serious romantic relationships. What's more, the time-shifting play is at times extremely challenging, and best suited for more experienced gamers.

What's it about?

An unabashed tribute to Super Mario Bros., BRAID is a side-scrolling adventure loaded with nods to Nintendo's iconic plumber, including dangerous plants that pop out of pipes, cannons that spit out monsters, and clouds upon which players can hitch rides. But there's much more to it than simple homage. Each of the game's six worlds features a different time-shifting game mechanic that is used to decipher a series of mind-bending puzzles. Depending on the level and circumstance, time might slow down, enemies might move forwards or backwards depending on the direction in which our little blue-suited hero is running, or the clock may stop altogether. Players can rewind time as much as they like at any time and in any level.

As you conquer Braid's time-based conundrums, you journey through mesmerizing environments that look like paintings come to life and play witness to a surprisingly adult tale about the hope and futility of finding perfection in our mates. Through brief bits of efficient and superbly written prose, Braid details a man's quest to find his "Princess," the woman who in his mind personifies flawlessness. Deliberately vague throughout, the game concludes with several possible endings, each of which will change the meaning of everything players have experienced in the game up to that point.

Is it any good?


This brilliant and pioneering platform game is one of the deepest and most thoughtful interactive experiences yet made. Braid's wildly imaginative environments, composed of beautiful, perpetually moving watercolors, owe inspiration to such diverse sources as the painted worlds of Capcom's Okami and Vincent Ward's film What Dreams May Come, scenes of which appear set on living canvas. It's impossible not to view the game's milieu as interactive art. What's more, it's dripping with sly allegories that bridge story and play. The time shifting mechanics represent our character's desire to go back in time and change regretful events in his own life. And as he collects and assembles jigsaw puzzle pieces in each level, we realize that he is, in fact, trying to find and reassemble the pieces of his shattered relationship.

The only downside of this game is its difficulty. Some of the puzzles, which involve bending time in ways most people are not naturally equipped to imagine, are true brain breakers. There's a good chance that, despite the game's brilliant narrative and stunning art design, some players may not have the patience to persevere through to the end, which would be a shame. Braid is well worth the struggle. It redefines what the medium of games can be, and, perhaps more importantly, what it can say.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the concept of love as it has been portrayed in games. Do you think video games are a valid medium in which to explore the complexities of romantic relationships? Do you think that Braid deals with the subject in a meaningful and insightful manner? Can you think of any other games that have had something important to say about love? Does the game's high level of difficulty detract from its intended message?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows, Mac
Available online?Not available online
Release date:August 6, 2008
ESRB rating:E10+ for Language, Mild Cartoon Violence

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byXanadu84 December 8, 2009
Braid is a tricky game to review, because when you talk about how appropriate it is, you mean something completely different from when you talk about a violent shooter or beat em up. In terms of inappropriate content, I think a 12 year old could handle the single use of the "B Word", and the implication of a relationship that started falling apart. But in terms of emotional depth...well, it was, at times, emotionally difficult for me to play at 25. Even in terms of sheer challenge of game play, it was difficult for me as well. I think that a very mature 15 year old, ready to deal with the issue of real, romantic love (They do exist...rarely) who is quite good at puzzles should be encouraged to play this game. But there's also a pretty good chance that they simply won't like it, and preferring a game that's a little more straightforward. So to most parents, you probably shouldn't buy this game for your kids, just give a go ahead if they are informed about what the game is, and specifically want it. But I think that, just maybe, you should consider buying it for yourself, because it is beautiful.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 15 years old Written byptwin April 7, 2011

okay for certain people 11 and up but never for everyone.

I would think Braid is appropriate for anyone 11 or 12 and up, but it's not for everyone. If you're the kind of person who can wrap his brain around some very tough puzzles, then this is your game. I would also argue that it is very educational. It can help train one's brain for logical and spacial thinking at a very high level. (warning. The difficulty curve is Steeeeeeep!)
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written bytarquinius623 September 3, 2009

One of the best games that I have ever played.

VERY good game... The music is beautiful, easy to control yet VERY challenging puzzles, and it teaches you to think outside the box. It takes a classic game concept and flips it on its head.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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