I AM BREAD
For a lighter crust, add water to the tray before baking
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”
Lids are difficult when you’re bread. But you can always smash the jam jar to get at the delicious sugary fruits.