Tim has lost his Princess and you've got to help him find her. There's not much to say about Braid without giving away some spoilers, but here we go with a concise attempt.
Braid at its core is a puzzle game based within a platformer ala Super Mario Brothers. Its general controls are very familiar... you can run, jump on an enemy's head to knock them away, and reach an end point to the level with relative ease. The real test comes within acquiring the 60 puzzle pieces located throughout the game's 5 worlds. Each world has a specific gameplay mechanic it introduces that you must utilize properly in order to reach the pieces, and each of these mechanics makes solving the puzzles very different.
The narrative is told through a set of books located at the beginning of each world which you can completely disregard if you'd like to. When I went through, I read carefully each block of text for the first two worlds then got tired at how annoyingly pretentious it sounded so I started to skim instead of read, but do yourself a favor and try to pay attention. You'll be happy you did in the endgame, which I will add, is probably the single best ending level I've seen in many, many years of gaming. Its simplistic in nature and style much like the overall game, isn't terribly long (also like the encompassing game), but wraps up everything very nicely and you may find yourself feeling some emotion as well.
Is Braid worth the high price of admission? When all is said and done, I'd say yes. There's very little replay value and you're likely to see everything the first time through (except for some easter eggs I've found out about after the fact), its relatively short (took me about 4 or 5 hours total after getting stuck on some wacked out puzzles) but the overall game is indeed worth the money.
People watching from the outside may just dismiss Braid as a Super Mario Brothers clone with a watercolor paining art style and they're not completely wrong. The game shamelessly steals simple platforming elements, enemy styles, and even level ending castles from the perennial classic. However when you dig beneath the surface and get into the meat and po-ta-toes (boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew) you'll find something that'll be generally different than anything you've played before.
Go play it and experience it.
- Great art style and music
- Truly mind bending and original
- The payoff at the end
- little/no replay value
- the walls of text used for the narrative