A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that I Am Bread is a downloadable tongue-in-cheek take on action-adventure platformers. It's a cute idea that seems great for kids, but its bad controls can lead to heavy frustration that would keep many kids away from the game. There's no inappropriate content, and apart from some knocking over or breaking of household items, there's no violence, either.
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What's it about?
On the surface, I AM BREAD is an adventure game about a humble slice of bread whose dream is to be toasted. But this dream takes place across a couple different modes. In the story mode, this dream has a bit of a darker undertone, because it tells a tale about a man who thinks he's losing his mind when his bread keeps toasting itself. In alternate game modes, players will participate in platforming missions, racing modes, and even space shooters.
Is it any good?
I Am Bread draws you in with its wonderfully absurd premise. It starts with story mode, which illustrates the gradual mental degradation of some poor schmo who thinks he's losing his mind: Random pieces of toast keep appearing all over his house, making him think he's being pranked. Little does he know he's sharing his space with the world's most ambitious piece of bread. This silliness could have been a great setup for a spectacularly unique game, since the point is to flip and/or drag a slice of bread across kitchens, living rooms, and bathrooms to some kind of heat source. Once there, you have to stay on or near that heat source until you’re toasted. Unfortunately, it's all messed up with a horrible control scheme. The PC controls are utterly useless and a great way to bring on a headache. Gamepad controls are slightly better but not by much. Combined with random physics-related accidents, a wildly swinging camera, and a quickly diminishing “Edibility” meter, play is a truly frustrating experience.
If you can stay calm long enough to get through story mode, unlockable timed physics-based challenges such as Cheese Hunt and Bagel Race provide moderately more entertaining fare. There's even a recently added space shooter mode called "Starch Wars" in honor of May 4. This mode, as the rest of I Am Bread, is amusing for around five minutes -- or as long as it takes you to chuckle at the sight of Tie Fighters made from bagels and crackers. Visually, the game isn't bad, but the art team's decision to go with realism makes for some fairly blah interiors. The music is probably the highlight, being a silly mix of piano, whistling, and ... is that a kazoo playing in the background? What I Am Bread amounts to really is a jokey one-liner stretched thin. Once you've absorbed the cutesy bread puns, it has nothing more to offer than a terrifically discouraging waste of your entertainment time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about setting goals. The bread's main goal in life is to be toasted. What's yours?
Discuss other games, books, or movies you've seen that have objects as heroes (Toy Story, The Little Engine That Could, The Brave Little Toaster). What makes them special? What do they do to become heroes?
Think about what you would do if you were the size of a slice of bread. How would you get around?
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