Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
Braid is an independent game that was initially released on XBLA, and shortly afterwards ported to PC. In all fairness, the game is fun to play, but it's incredibly obvious that the developers grew up on the original Mario Bros. Games.
The structure of each level will bring back memories of Mario, but only at the end of the levels. The 'Princess in another castle' phrase comes up a lot more than I expected, and I can only guess that Jonathan Blow's team of developers were attempting to pay tribute to Nintendo's seminal IP. The rest of the story is a tale of love and loss, with the main protagonist searching for his love interest in a typical knight-princess rescue epic.
Gameplay-wise, the platforming is simple and intuitive, and the time-manipulation is used in interesting ways. You can stay in place in space-time, rewind time to the beginning of the entire level, slow down time in a specific area of a level, and record your actions before rewinding. Getting the knack for these different powers takes a bit of practice and thought, but finally completing the puzzles that the powers are used for is very, very, very satisfying.
Artistically, Braid is 2D, the best method of platforming (despite how much I prefer it in 3D). The sprites are simple, but beautifully drawn, the environments are gorgeous, and the soundtrack is quiet and serene, something I would expect more of an MMO, but works very nicely.
Overall, Braid is a curious platformer that combines elements of Mario and Prince of Persia time manipulation. Very fun to play, and well worth the price.
Game Traits applied to Braid (PC) by matrixrunner