I AM BREAD

For a lighter crust, add wa­ter to the tray be­fore bak­ing

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - CONTENTS - Phil Sav­age

You are bread. Just a sim­ple slice from a ba­sic loaf. This isn’t a metaphor about the im­por­tance of sus­tain­able food pro­duc­tion or a trea­tise on the ethics of ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied crops. (At least, if it is, we missed the sub­text.) This is a sim­ple story about a bit of bread who wants to be­come toast.

For­tu­nately, you’re not just any bread. You’re an­i­mate, able to flip and con­tort to nav­i­gate through your en­vi­ron­ment. Are you sen­tient? Likely not. Your urge to be toast over­rides such moral ques­tions as, “is it okay to smash these plates on the way to the toaster?” If noth­ing else, you are aware that condi­ments like but­ter and jam im­prove your de­li­cious­ness, thus in­creas­ing your score, and that be­ing cov­ered in dust, fluff, and ants is bad.

IAmBread is part of an emerg­ing sta­ble of com­edy sim­u­la­tion games. Like GoatSim­u­la­tor, it’s de­lib­er­ately dif­fi­cult to con­trol. You nav­i­gate across its lev­els—be it kitchen, bed­room or bath­room—by us­ing the trig­gers and bumpers, one mapped to each cor­ner of your rec­tan­gu­lar body. Mov­ing in a straight line is pretty pain­less. Hold the trig­gers to grab the sur­face you’re on, move the Left Stick to flip your­self over, re­lease the trig­gers, hold the bumpers, flip, re­lease, and re­peat.

It’s pos­si­ble to climb walls us­ing this un­con­ven­tional con­trol sys­tem, too, although you’re ham­pered by a grip gauge. Run out of grip dur­ing your as­cent, and you’ll fall to the floor, where your ed­i­bil­ity me­ter will likely start to de­crease. If you reach zero per cent ed­i­bil­ity, it’s game over.

No knead for trou­ble

That’s the ba­sic the­ory. In prac­tice, be­ing bread is barely con­trol­lable chaos. In the first level, you’re en­cour­aged to climb shelv­ing units, nav­i­gate around ants, and, in one in­stance, ride a skate­board. Travers­ing 3D en­vi­ron­ments full of clut­ter of­ten calls for com­plex com­bi­na­tions of bumper and trig­ger, as well as the face but­tons, which you can use to grab hold of ob­jects to fling them out of your way. The com­plex­ity leads to many mis­takes and close calls, which is all part of the com­edy. But, af­ter a while, the frus­tra­tion chips away at the ab­sur­dist fun, and what’s left is an awk­ward, an­noy­ing con­trol sys­tem.

How ex­actly you reach your tar­get is up to you, but it soon be­comes clear that there’s an ideal route. The en­vi­ron­ments are each a mini sand­box play area full of phys­i­cal ob­jects, and

IAmBread is at its best when you’re ma­nip­u­lat­ing it to progress your goals. Knock a bowl­ing ball onto the TV in the lounge, and the sub­se­quent elec­tri­cal fire will toast you—skip­ping a har­row­ing jour­ney to the heater.

De­spite the an­noy­ances, there’s fun to be had muck­ing around in each level. IAmBread also fea­tures a sur­pris­ingly dark story—the twisted tale of the man be­ing tor­mented by liv­ing bread, told through a se­ries of ther­apy re­ports. It’s a stark con­trast to the light-hearted ac­tion, and ef­fec­tive be­cause of it. Fur­ther longevity is at­tempted by bonus modes—a se­ries of mini-games fea­tur­ing a bagel race course, or a baguette that just wants to smash things. Some­how, the schemes of these al­ter­na­tive bread forms is even worse.

There’s fun, but it’s fleet­ing– even across a game that you’ll fin­ish in a few short hours. IAmBread is a sin­gle joke in need of some­thing more.

“Knock a bowl­ing bowl onto the TV, and the re­sult­ing fire will toast you”

right

Lids are dif­fi­cult when you’re bread. But you can al­ways smash the jam jar to get at the de­li­cious sug­ary fruits.

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