Tag Archives: P.B. Winterbottom

Traversing worlds in Braid like a true tourist

I played a little bit of Braid back at the end of August 2011, during the time that Hurricane Irene came swooping on in and knocked out power at Grimmauld Place for a week and then some. Stuck at the in-laws, I only had my Nintendo 3DS and laptop to entertain me videogames-wise–Tara’s dogs and old VHS tapes provided non-gaming fun–and there was only so much of The Sims Social I could take. So I loaded up Steam for like the third or fourth time ever and gave Braid a spin, using just a keyboard to govern Tim and time. It was not easy, but thankfully, the game itself is not punishing, and actually needs you to rewind your mistakes to learn how to progress forward. I got to the end of World 4 before stopping, but let me preface that with the fact that you actually begin Braid on World 2. So, uh, yeah.

And for the most part, I just walked from the beginning of the level to the end. Occasionally, I’d tried to get some of those shiny puzzle pieces, but if they proved too complicated, I just moved on. And the game is fine with that. You can literally go from beginning to end on some levels in under a minute. Just keep going right; Mario would be proud. As Jonathan Blow says, it’s “about the journey, not the destination.” Well, my journey was often that of a tourist, going forward and taking in all the gorgeous sights while trying not to disturb history. If I could, I hopped over enemies instead of on them. I do not regret breezing past some puzzles, as they will still be there when Tim decides to return.

Some of Braid‘s story elements had already been spoiled for me at that point by the Internet, so that was the least compelling part. The puzzles though, they remained unspoiled…and good for me. They are works of art. Clearly planned and executed in a way that mattered to the game’s  mechanics and mood. Even the simplest of them still give off a good feeling aura when completed.

Flash-forward to now, 2012, the year of our unmaking, and I’ve been using Steam a lot more thanks to a capable laptop. Y’all remember that I recently bought a second copy of Skyrim, right? Well, I’ve been playing it with my Xbox 360 controller plugged into the USB slot, and it’s been fantastic. I thought to give some other games in my Steam library a chance, too, to see if they were more enjoyable with a controller versus a mouse and keyboard. And they were–Trine and Super Meat Boy. Braid, too. It just felt more natural to jump about and rewind time using a controller. I dunno. PC gamers can hate all they want, but platformers and controllers go hand in hand.

And for giggles, here’s some Steam Achievements I unlocked, which are totally different entities than Xbox 360 Achievements:

Traversed World 5: Travel all the way across World 5.

Traversed World 6: Travel all the way across World 6.

Solved World 2: Fit together all the World 2 puzzle pieces and align the puzzle in its frame.

Okay. Will hop back in soon to hopefully finish Tim’s heroic journey up, though I suspect I’ll need to look up some walkthroughs to get all the puzzle pieces in Worlds 2-6 as many look quite tricky and daunting; however, I’m quite proud of myself for getting them all on my own in World 2, as well as defeating a certain boss using the clone recording mechanic. Guess I retained some skills from playing The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom long before Braid.

Witness that I am intrigued over Jonathan Blow’s The Witness

Great, truly unique puzzles are hard to come by these days. We’ve seemingly done everything across a myriad of videogames spanning the past, present, and future: move blocks, match colored gems, flip switches, use portals to our advantage, bend time,  and so on. I thought the cloning and time-heavy puzzles in The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom were fantastic, excruciatingly tricky and humbling. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge had a few brain-twisters, too. But other than that, it’s all been pretty ho-hum, and yes, I’ve not yet played Braid, but do plan to soon.

And so with that said, I’m pretty excited about The Witness, Jonathan Blow’s next game after Braid, and I’ve barely seen much of it in action, just read several lengthy, praising articles over the last couple of days about the stuck-on-an-island puzzler. Which is all about discovery, and listening, and looking–and seeing. Seeing is solving.

The Witness has a Myst feel to it, playing from a first-person perspective and exploring a lush, but isolated and empty island. Why is it people-less? Who are you, anyways? What’s with all the tech? Questions, quizzical uncertainties, a pristine and thriving locale void of human life…only one way to figure it all out, and that’s to go exploring, picking up recordings for deeper insight. There are blue computer screens littered across the island, and they all seem to be connected to a door; to open the door, a player must draw a line from point A to point B, and that sounds simple, but it seems like the kind of thing that can grow dangerously difficult over time. Some of the answers for the line are actually found by looking around at the island; that group of trees, perhaps, with their weird-looking branches; that bird chirping overhead, chirping high then low then high again; these are not just bits of nature, they are answers. Seeing is solving.

It sounds fantastic. However, if I’m truly going to love The Witness, I’m going to have to stop reading about it, as I don’t want to know all the puzzle solutions long and before it even comes out. The lesser known, the better.

And here’s some lo-fi video footage of the game in motion:

All Achievements Achieved – The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom


And that random observation transitions nicely into the deliciously cool fact that I finally unlocked all the Achievements in The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom over the weekend. I had, for some time, had most of them unlocked, but one was constantly keeping its distance, constantly pesky. Really, really pesky. Like, gee, solve every single challenge ever made if you love pie so much. See here:

Greedy Bottom (40G): Completed all recording and time challenges in the bonus shorts.

Greedy bottom indeed. The bonus levels in The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom require you to solve the puzzle using a set number of clones and within a given time limit. Most often, you have to play the levels twice to get these, but I did grab both of them at once every now and then. The world 5 bonus levels were definitely the trickiest, as they often required six clones to get six pies, meaning if you messed up just once, you lost your shot and had to restart. This, inevitably, got very frustrating, and I had to use an online guide for several of them, which hurt more than you know.

Truthfully, I’m kind of glad to be all said and done with this puzzler. The music can become extremely grating, especially after you’ve failed to steal that last pie for the nineteenth time.

Have a , Mr. Winterbottom. Just don’t eat it.

Spelunking for sweets and a soggy bottom

Soggy bottoms. Am I talking about that lusted, best-selling boy band in O’ Brother, Where Art Thou? or something babies always have? Well, neither actually. I’m referencing the fourth movie level in The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, where in our pie-loving dastard is stuck deep below the ground with broken pipes, sewer rivers, and evil clones. I just completed it last night, and had to only look up one guide to help me move along when stuck:

Soggy Bottom (10G): Completed the “Spelunking for Sweets” movie level.

The theme to this one was…evil clones. You record them only from specific starting points, and then can’t come into contact with them save for jumping on their top hats. They are red and evil. They eat evil, red pies. That’s kind of all you need to know about them. It made for some interesting and frustrating puzzle-solving, but we got through it, got our pies. Only one level–“Pie Own Worst Enemy”–proved troublesome and, again, once I saw how someone else did it, I felt annoyed that I didn’t take the time (pun intended) to figure it out.

Only one more movie hub world to go through, and then that’s it for the main point of the game. After that, the only Achievements left have to do with the challenge levels, and I don’t know if I’m skilled enough for them. Will have to give it a go, naturally, but I’m also a little apprehensive. I mean, I still don’t really understand the ins and outs of recording clones and mostly stumble upon a level’s solution with a little luck and patience. We’ll see. Next bottom I desire dearly is…Smacked Bottom. Hey-o!

P.B. Winterbottom is all about the pie in the sky

I recently used up my remaining 400 Microsoft Points to purchase The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, a puzzle game that is all about manipulating time and collecting…pies. It’s got a great art style to it, purporting itself to look like the silent movies of way-back-when; you can even see projector lines on the screen from time to time, and the story is told in a silly, rhyming poem, but it really only boils down to this fellow P.B. Winterbottom and his never-ending lust for baked goods. In order to get these delicious treats, the player makes recordings of Winterbottom’s movements and toys with time to solve puzzles. A lot of the levels are pretty tough and will take a lot of trial and error, figuring out how to use these recordings to their potential, and I had to look one up online, which made me nearly slap my forehead when I saw the level’s solution. It made sense then, and I wish I had just kept with it longer to figure it out for myself. According to Wikipedia, this game was originally a student’s graduate thesis at the University of Southern California, and that’s just awesome.

I’m about halfway through the main movie story levels. All the Achievements have the word bottom in them, which I find to be hilarious. I’ve unlocked Burnt Bottom, Ticking Bottom, Evil Bottom, Hungry Bottom, and Hot Pie Bottom so far. More to come, as they seem pretty straightforward to unlock. Really looking forward to getting a Soggy Bottom. Er, moving on…

I was also surprised at how great the music is. It’s got this infectious drum beat during the main menu screen that really gets you excited to gather…pies. Still can’t get over that aspect. So, uh, ‘Splosion Man has an obsession with collecting cakes. And here, P.B. Winterbottom…he will stop at nothing to get his pies. Murdering a hundred clones of himself doesn’t even pinch his heart. He’d watch a thousand burn if he could. I don’t know. It’s just kind of weird that two Xbox Live Arcade titles that I both recently purchased are all about food. Cake and pie. Really need a sushi game now to perfect the trio.