I Am Bread – Game Club recap

May 21st, 2015 by Tim Cullings
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For a game that no one had much to say about, this ended up being one of our longest Game Club sessions.  It turns out that I Am Bread is a lot more fun to watch and play in a group of people than it is to play alone. So rather than spend a lot of time picking apart the many issues we had with the game, we did what most of us didn’t spend much time doing this month – actually playing I Am Bread.

That is not to say that we didn’t spend time discussing our likes and dislikes about the game.  Our main issue was that the game’s trailer leads you to believe that its a lighthearted romp with a goofy premise and some fun with physics, when in actuality it’s a very demanding and frustrating exercise in battling a janky camera while playing QWOP in 3D space.

“It’s like the Dark Souls of baking.” — Eric

The game has two resources for the player to manage, grip strength (stamina) and edibility (health).  We felt like the combination of managing both was a little too challenging, and one or the other would have been sufficient. Most of us leaned toward grip strength, since it was not always easy to visually distinguish the hazards in the level that would cause edibility to drop, and hitting a spot like that at the end of the level was frustrating enough to cause rage quits. Our host Eric said, “It’s like the Dark Souls of baking.” (Note: Eric is a huge Dark Souls fan, so one could take that as a huge compliment coming from him, but I don’t think he meant it in a nice way).

Mechanically speaking though, the game is interesting and we couldn’t think of a better way to control a piece of bread.

We also didn’t like that the game’s levels really only have one goal – traverse the level to a certain point to toast the bread. All of the other interactions in the game seem like a wasted opportunity to add fun and rewarding experiences for the player. These, combined with the lack in variety in the environments, were the main factor that led most of us to only play for 1 or 2 hours and miss the really fun game modes.

Story Mode Speaking of modes, Story mode is the main mode of the game, but it feels like the developers knew it was going to be too hard for most people. They spawn a god-mode power-up once the player dies 3 times in a row that gives you infinite grip strength and edibility. This begs the question: Why lock away the really fun game modes behind story mode progression, when you can basically skip the story mode if you fail it enough times?

This makes it sound like we didn’t enjoy the game at all, but once we used the god-mode power-up to plow through the story mode and unlocked Rampage, Bagel Race and Zero G modes – that was when the fun began.

Bagel Race is just what it sounds like, roll a bagel around the room hitting checkpoints and getting to the end in time without having to worry about edibility and grip strength Rampage really shows off the physics engine in the game where you have a set amount of time to swing a baguette around and cause as much destruction to cleverly placed stacks of plates and glasses around the room.

Zero G ModeZero G mode is like a whole new game unto itself, all of the gravity is turned off in the room and the game turns more into a spaceship docking simulator where the player maneuvers their bread ship around a room full of floating objects to eventually “dock” with the heat source and become toast.  It is a much calmer experience than the story mode of the game and is really interesting and fun to play around with.

So there’s a reward to be had for sticking through the story mode, but it would have been nice to have been able to choose to play those modes at the start, and not be forced to play through a mode that most of us found a lot less fun and didn’t really teach us anything useful for the modes that we did enjoy.

We did experience two hard desktop crashes during the game, and we managed to break the UI once and had to Alt-F4 out of the game. Fortunately they happened during transition scenes and didn’t cause us to lose progress, but the game still feels fairly buggy.

Next month we’ll be playing Lemma, a voxel based tripped out version of Mirror’s Edge that looks interesting to say the least.

Did you play I Am Bread and love it?  Think we’re way off base or agree completely? Let us know.