Friday, July 28, 2017

I Am Bread Review (PS4)

There is a difference between accidentally creating goofy glitchy gaming magic and running with it versus intentionally making something crappy in the hopes it goes viral. Guess which one I Am Bread falls under. The concept of playing as a piece of bread trying to get toasted is, admittedly, silly enough to be appealing, but the awful camera and control scheme, high frustration factor, and general bland and boring-ness of being a dumb ass piece of bread immediately kills any sort of enjoyment the concept might promise. Maybe I’m just bitter because I’ve recently become gluten intolerant, but I Am Bread makes my guts hurt. Continue reading our full review for all of the awful details.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Bossa Studios
  • Developer: Bossa Studios
  • ESRB Rating: “E10” for Everyone 10+
  • Genre: Simulation
  • Pros: Silly concept; extra modes
  • Cons: Bad controls; not fun; dumb
  • MSRP: $13

I Am Bread has you playing as hunk of bread trying to get toasted. If you touch the floor or other dirty things around the kitchen / house on your way to a heat source, your deliciousness goes down. The idea is to get toasted as quickly as possible without getting too dirty / grimy.

Sounds mildly intriguing, right? Well, actually playing it is like some sort of medieval torture. Each of the four corners of the bread is controlled by one of the four shoulder buttons while the left stick moves you. By just moving the stick the bread will inch along, but if you press the correct shoulder buttons along with moving the stick you’ll zig-zag around or flip over and move much faster. You can stick to any surface so climbing around on walls or across the ceiling isn’t just possible, but required to actually make any progress.

Actually executing what you’re supposed to is the real problem in I Am Bread, though, as nothing ever seems to work like you think it will. The physics engine constantly screws you over, the camera constantly spazzes out and gets in the way, and the controls never ever feel intuitive or comfortable. The game just isn’t particularly fun to play. On top of that, it is shockingly frustrating and unforgiving and some of the levels are absolutely devilish in their design. There aren’t any checkpoints, either, so when you mess up late in a run you have to do the whole thing over. Perhaps most damming is that the experience also isn’t as funny and silly as you’d hope. It’s just as dry and bland as boring as the piece of bread you’re playing as.

Far better than the “story” mode (yes, the game does have a story) are the extra modes that have you playing as a baguette and destroying everything and a zero-g mode where the bread has thrusters on it. These extra modes are just the sort of silly bite-sized fun that focus on the absurdity of the concept that the whole game should have from the start.

I’m not inherently against so-called YouTube bait games like this, but to be successful the game needs to actually be good and not just try to sell on the absurdity of its premise. Games like Mount Your Friends or QWOP with similar control schemes are actually fun to play. Games like GoatSimulator, Human Fall Flat, or Manual Samuel with the same “intentionally bad” design MO are, again, actually fun to play. I Am Bread, by contrast, isn’t fun or funny or interesting. It’s just boring and plays bad without any of the payoff or satisfaction of the previously mentioned games. Just like CatlateralDamage or Surgeon Simulator, I Am Bread is far better as a silly concept than it is an actual game you’re expected to pay money for. Skip it and play something better.