But Braid really can't be described. It's a 2D platformer, but that's clearly not helpful as I despise platformers but love Braid. You control time - you can rewind it, pause it, and do all sorts of other time-related shenanigans. But it's nothing like Prince of Persia and it's whole worlds better than the disappointing TimeShift.
Braid is a game about relationship breakdowns. Seriously. I don't mean metaphorically. It's actually about relationship breakdowns. The protagonist, Tim, likes to take time out from all the running and jumping to muse about how hard it is to pull when you're wearing a wedding ring.
But more to the point, Braid is clever. Not only is every level exquisitely well-constructed, but the game manipulates your expectations about gameplay and progression with a deftness bordering on genius. Rather than feeling like an extension of games you've played before, Braid operates on a whole new plane, giving the impression that it's travelled from some distant future where James Joyce's resurrected corpse designs Mario-clones.
Even if you're not drawn in by the gameplay and the narrative, and even if you're not blown away by the powerful ending (which will hit you like a punch in the baby-maker), you can't deny that Braid looks and sounds fantastic. Every level is so gorgeous that you'll want to put your monitor up on the wall in a frame, and the music easily equals or exceeds that standard.
Braid is short - maybe five hours, or more if you're shy about FAQs - but that only adds to the appeal. It's a focused, intense experience, with deliberate pacing and a clear conclusion. Much like Portal it knows exactly what it wants to do and gets it done.
This is everything that gaming should be, and it's an excellent showcase for the merits of small-scale downloadable content. If you haven't already coughed up the necessary funds to acquire Braid from XBox Live Arcade then there's probably something wrong with you, and you should consult a doctor immediately.