Here is a new game I’m working on. Its premise is that you are a pizza deliver person who needs to get the pizzas delivered under the time limit. Its┬ástill a work in progress.

Portal_logoPortal is a game that offers not only humorous and smart dialog but takes the puzzle platformer to a completely new level. This game is likely the most innovative titles of its decade. You play as the protagonist named Chell. At the begining of the game Chell awakes inside a glass room. A radio playing some upbeat music (which later turns out to be “Still Alive,” the popular theme song for the game written by Jonathan Coulton) is the only noise heard until an eerie voice from the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System (henceforth referred to as GLaDOS) fills the atmosphere. GLaDOS informs Chell some very valuable tests that have to be performed.

As Chell leaves the glass room, GLaDOS instructs her to get the Aperture Science Portal Gun. This portal gun is able to create two portals (Orange and Blue) that are used to complete certain tasks within the test chambers. Even though GLaDOS is actually apathetic towards the well-being and health of Chell, she does reassures her these tests are for the sake of science while offering a delicious reward of cake at the conclusion.

Without spoiling too much of the story, I will say that the story in Portal is highly entertaining. GLaDOS is a superb character and writing for the game is well designed and unforgettable

Portal is a puzzle game like absolutely no other. The objective for each test chamber is to maneuver from start to finish by any means imaginable. This may seem like such as child’s play but don’t allow this simple assessment fool you. You will need to think outside-the-box, or shall we say, “the “cube.” The brainteasers presented are quite challenging and enjoyable whenever you finally figure them out. The best part concerning the gameplay is that there’s more than one method to handle each situation.

To help you in your quest, GLaDOS presents you with the Aperture Science Portal Gun. This portal creation device grants you the ability to create an interconnected portal with two colours; orange and blue. Not all surfaces are portalable and you are restricted as to which surfaces you’re allowed to create these types of passageways on. Also, your velocity is conserved through the portal; as GLaDOS states in layman’s terms, “speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out”. For instance, plummeting off a 30 foot ledge into a portal will sling you out another side at the same speed. You’ll have a blast constructing your strategically placed portals while you progress through the challenges presented in the outstanding level design.

After you have completed the game, brand new challenges become available. You have the choice to replay certain levels with an advanced setting. Plus, there are other challenges to partake in which include reaching the goal using the least number of steps or using the least number of portals. Unfortunately, even with these types of added scenarios, the entire game can last you a few brief hours and leaving a person hungry for more.

The level design is head and shoulders above other puzzle games available on the market. Portal offers an intriguing atmosphere that’ll not just test your platforming skills but how you can problem solve. Aesthetically, this game will keep you thoroughly satisfied.

The voice work for GLaDOS is perfectl. Her humorous dialog is highly entertaining especially her subtle remarks towards your overall well being. There is also funny song performed throughout the credits that’s really catchy.

Aside from the entire experience ending to quickly, Portal is still groundbreaking. The challenging puzzles and clever dialog are superbly mixed together. The fact that you’re able to achieve each goal using various methods truly makes the overall game personal and memorable for every person. I would highly suggest this game to anybody. These few brief hours of playing Portal have been the best I’ve had in my personal entire gaming career.

Spoiler Alert! The cake is a lie!

The Verdict

9.5Amazing

The Good: Fantastic and innovative puzzles. | Witty and highly entertaining dialog. | Different ways to solve each problem. | Delightful music during the credits

The Bad: Too short.

Braid_iconPerhaps you have wondered how the princess locked away within the castle must feel? Or what goes on in the head of the eager hero–the brave youth who gladly leapt over dangerous pits and onto the heads of treacherous enemies–after getting a cursory kiss on the cheek — a reward for risking his skin? The motivations of those archetypical characters are rarely investigated, but Braid gives an answer to these often ignored questions. It is the contemplative companion to the standard Mario adventure and embraces the unbridled fun present in the best platformers. Clever game mechanics are the driving force, pushing you towards your inevitable confrontation with the damsel you’ve lost, and it is the engrossing story-line that makes this game something special.

Braid is a rare game which will make you rack your brain attempting to solve puzzles one minute while causing you to anticipate new developments in the storyline the next. The plot is succinctly summarized before the first world is entered: Tim, the main character, has made an error that cost him his true love; now, he has to save his lost princess from an evil monster. The story, told through books before each of the worlds, chronicles Tim’s ruminations about the subjects eating away at him. Depending in your level of cynicism, these could be labeled poetic or sappy–but they add powerful context to the running and jumping action which follows.

Tim’s thoughts often drift toward changing yesteryear, which ties in nicely using the time-shifting mechanics you’ll be employing through the entire adventure. Your standard ability enables you to rewind time with the push of the button. The most basic utilization of this is simply pushing back time for you to avoid being killed by an enemy or reattempting a mistimed leap, but it goes much much deeper than replaying failed attempts. Nevertheless, there are green objects and enemies that are unaffected by your time manipulation powers. So if Tim unlocks a green door and rewinds time, it will stay open. Your ability to control time can be used in many unexpected and frequently brilliant ways, making you use areas of your brain that are hardly ever tapped during most puzzle video games.

Later levels retain this fundamental mechanic but add unique twists which ensure every world feels different. Which time manipulation tool you’re given depends on what world you’re in. In the fourth world, you control time by simply walking. Every step forward pushes objects and enemies forward over time, while moving backward takes them to the past with you. Because these levels have enemies and items which move in direct relation for you, they have been meticulously constructed to make navigation possible. In another world, you make a copy of yourself each time you rewind time. Your shadow can hop on enemy heads, pull switches, and unlock doors; you just need to perform the action yourself first, then reverse time a few seconds. Your shadow will perform the same actions you did prior to your reversing time. The different solutions built around these abilities vary widely, so you need to figure out the extent of the powers before you happen upon the always logical solution. Although the puzzles are formidable, Braid in no way frustrates.

Each of the first 5 worlds in Braid has 12 different puzzle pieces to gather. The levels are actually very short, so if you desired, you could run through the majority of the game in little more than a half hour, but you’ll have to collect all 60 deviously placed puzzle pieces if you wish to see the poignant conclusion. The whole game should take more than six hours to complete, depending on your puzzle-solving acumen. It might appear unfair to ask you to gather every little piece to begin to see the thrilling ending, but by encouraging you to tackle the most challenging of puzzles, the game is ultimately a lot more rewarding than it would happen to be otherwise. Though the game only forces you to backtrack during one puzzle early on, it’s unlikely that you can nab every piece the very first time you play. It is only after learning your abilities and learning your limitations that you can conquer the puzzles that seemed impossible your first time through.

Most of the puzzles in Braid favor sharp thinking over quick reflexes. The actions you’re required to do should be second nature if you have ever jumped on goomba heads previously. Braid certainly realizes that it’s running and jumping encounters feel a great deal like Super Mario Bros. –there are clever references towards the venerable plumber throughout the game. From the dangerous man-eating plants appearing out of pipes to the flag pole that greets you at the conclusion of every world, to the declaration that “your princess is in another castle,” there are constant reminders of Braid’s inspiration. Like the musings from Tim’s books prior to each level, these homages tie to the overarching story of the injured hero’s subconscious longings.

The delicate visuals are eye-catching but are in no way distracting. The world appears to be composed with pastel watercolors, swirling blends that creates a very distinct look. The actual characters themselves–Tim, his enemies, and the princess–stand out prominently against the serene, multilayered backdrop. They are like flat, cardboard cutouts colored with markers. The musical score is stylish and mild–quiet songs that reflection the deliberate pacing. The music bends along with the time, racing forward and backward together with your actions. Braid’s presentation is evenly impressive, and serves to complement the gameplay instead of drawng focus away from it.

It’s impossible to ignore Braid’s price tag. At $15, it is one of the more expensive games on the Xbox 360 Live Arcade. But don’t let a few extra dollars prevent you from an exemplary experience that may rival many full-price, retail video games. Braid is worth every cent. The captivating ending sequence, which utilizes your rewind ability in a jaw-dropping new way, provides the exclamation point on this remarkable game, but the adventure is consistently engaging through the entire experience. The clever puzzles alone are enough to make this an adventure taking up. Braid’s deep and mesmerizing story is evergreen: it literally transcends time. It will never get old.

The Verdict

10Perfect

The Good: It has a unique game mechanic. | The artwork is stunning. | The music is breath-taking. | The puzzles are challenging enough to reward the successful player without being impossible.

The Bad: The hidden stars are impossible to find without help. | There are small parts of the game that look interesting but serve no gameplay purpose, thus confusing the player.