SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
If you have not played Braid then leave now, go outside, read a book.
Ok, they’ve gone. Right. Braid is awesome, but you already knew that.
The flawless if slightly impossible puzzles; the beautiful art and soundtrack; the surprisingly emotional story. It’s brilliant and everyone knows. What most people don’t know about though is the secret ending.
Wait, what, a secret ending. Yes. I had no idea either until I found it online. Basically, you have to find 8 impossibly hard stars, which the game doesn’t tell you about whatsoever. One of which can only be accessed by playing from the start, presuming you have already finished it, because you have to rearrange puzzle pieces in order to create a silhouette of half of a star. Obviously.
Another is only found if you wait, no joke, 1 hour for a platform to move across the stage letting you in to a secret area you can’t even see. The other stars are obtainable by solving very hard puzzles, and by hard, I mean really really hard. These puzzles are in a league of their own: juggling goombas into a space above the screen, precisely timing piranha plants to allow goombas through in order to jump into a space off the screen. And not only are they tough, there’s no way to tell whether a level has a star, let alone where it is.
If you haven’t collapsed on the floor frothing at the mouth, well done. It’s stupid. Creating things like this is insane, it’s quite impressive but no one will find it. Not only that, but unlocking all the stars will unlock another version of the final level, with a final ending.
This makes the original ending, one of the best endings of all time in my opinion, completely meaningless. If there is a different ending, a real ending, the first ending means nothing. This basically shuts off most of the gamers playing your game and most of the game itself.
Looking on the positive side, the final ending is very good, and concludes the whole experience very nicely. I’m sure I’d feel very differently if the stars were easier or even possible to achieve; even playing with a walkthrough I have not managed to get all the stars, they’re just so hard. It just really is a stupid way to design a game. Jonathan Blow, I now speak directly to you: you’re pretentious, but you make damn good games.
If you shoot for the stars, you might land on the moon. Or create unnecessary secret endings.