Games like I Am Bread aren’t all that uncommon. Not in the sense that many games play like I Am Bread, but more in the sense that there are many games that have short-lived success for one main reason. Rage. I Am Bread breeds rage in nearly every player that plays it. Part of the main reason for this is the games concept and execution of that concept. You are bread, you want to be toasted and need to stay edible in order to be eaten after being toasted. Using a bizarre control scheme to ‘grab’ and flip around everywhere, players quickly feel like they simply aren’t in control. Getting across an entire room without touching the floor or picking up any crumbs (or ants or whatever else may be in your way) becomes a hectic session made up of equal parts frustration and goofy delight.
When everything is going well and a player is managing to get around a level without too much trouble, it can be quite fun and is generally quite comedic. I mean the idea of a piece of bread ‘parkouring’ its way across the kitchen to be toasted is fairly silly. But what if it were a bagel? What if that bagel had a different need? Maybe a need for speed? This is where the game’s Bage Race mode comes in and asks players to guide a bagel through a race against the clock. This mode is much less rage-inducing as it doesn’t bug out or require as much reliance on a silly control scheme. Beyond Story and Bagel Race, there are a few other modes worth noting. Demolition sees players use a baguette to destroy as many things as they can within a set amount of time, racking up points in combos when they break stuff quick enough. This mode is fun a few times, but quickly wears thin as the controls are fairly obnoxious. Finally there is my least favorite mode, Zero-G. Players now control a piece of bread with boosters on all four corners of it and must guide said bread to a toaster while floating around in zero gravity. This mode’s controls have got to me the hardest to work with as it quickly becomes difficult to figure out which way to push the stick and often leads to mistakes. It seems that any of these modes can be played to unlock more levels, although I did not test this thoroughly.
Playing through and unlocking these levels in the Story mode gives players a look into the life of a man who is having a hard time and is seeking professional help. Without ruining anything, I will say that his story is funny enough to serve as a reward for completing each level. You may not be reciting this story to anyone anytime soon, but you’ll get a quick chuckle out of it in the moment. This sort of thing happens all the time in I Am Bread, the game will make you laugh for a moment or two and then you’ll be ushered on to the next joke or silly thing happening. I think part of what makes this so apparent is how involved players have to be with the controls in order to actually succeed.
Looking at the control scheme, I Am Bread doesn’t look that bad at all. bumpers/triggers for the four corners ad left stick for moving along the axis created by whichever corners grab the obstacle. At first, this isn’t too bad since players can just flip over the front end over and over again to go forward. Only when players are asked to traverse a wall or deal with a lip o a counter that it truly becomes enraging. Since players have to worry about their edibility and want to score a good time, it becomes easy to forget that there is a grip meter for when the player grabs anything. If this meter depletes all the way, the bread will let go of anything it is holding and flop to the ground. Combining all of this makes for a rather overwhelming experience that is not like many others.
While the gameplay may be overwhelming, the game’s art isn’t, which could have made this game an absolute nightmare to play. I can only imagine if the games art style was replaced with some over-the-top, bright-as-the-sun style that made everything even harder. Something I noticed about how the game looks now that I don’t like is how quickly the bread looks disgusting even when it’s edibility is maxed out. I understand that if a piece of bread was dragged across the house, it would look gross when it was done, but I feel the breads look should mirror its edibility. Since the game is (mostly) dealing with household items, the sound effects and music just aren’t that interesting or ear catching. I really didn’t expect much in this department from a game about becoming toast, though.
I Am Bread is a game with a rather unique concept, which would be considered an oddity by some. Whether or not this concept works is up to the individual player since there is no way to really test it besides seeing what people think as a whole. I don’t see enough people playing this game and actually giving enough feedback to expand on the idea too much, but who knows? They did manage to make many other modes that use similar mechanics that have their own goals and are actually rather enjoyable in their own right, so I suppose its possible. I have a feeling the game would be more or less the same without its story, since it’s fairly forgettable despite being funny. The most important part of the game, its gameplay, is my only true concern. Personally, I felt the gameplay was simple enough, but not refined enough to carry a whole game and often felt overwhelmed when trying to make it up a flat wall and over a small lip. Above all else, players should keep in mind that this game will probably make them mad at least a few times and should probably be skipped by those that don’t enjoy rage-inducing games.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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