I Am Bread – What We Think:
If there is any new emerging genre that has changed the way we think about mechanics in video games, it’s the QWOP-style games. Their difficulty comes mainly from mastering their specific control scheme as much as possible (as best you can) in order to succeed. They are oftentimes – by virtue of their overzealous and micro-managing control points – purposefully ridiculous to create a less serious and unpredictable experience. I am Bread from Bossa Studios is just such a QWOP-style game that manages to be everything a game in this genre should.
In I am Bread, you control various pieces of bread, depending on the game mode you choose. Whether you’re controlling a simple slice of loaf bread in the main story mode, a baguette in a destruction mode called Rampage, a bagel in the Bagel Race mode, a cracker looking for cheese, or just floating around in zero-gravity mode, they all have their own challenging control schemes.
Many people criticize these types of games as mere gimmicks, games that you play for thirty minutes, after which you soon grow tired. I am Bread tries to squash that notion by giving players a variety of game modes that are all different from one another. It’s surprising and welcome to see this approach to the genre. It does a good job of not making your experience feel repetitive.
Like most people, you’ll probably start playing the first game mode option, which is the story mode. In spite of its name, there isn’t much in terms of narrative, besides what you infer from loading screen text. What you do find out is that someone named Mr. Murton has fallen on some tough times and is claiming that bread has come to life.
A Scone’s Throw Away
Your role in this mode is to become toast. Maneuver your way to something within a room of Mr. Murton’s house that will make you into toast. Whether it’s a hair dryer in the bathroom or a clothing iron in the bedroom, you’ll need to make your way to it to proceed to the next level. You have to do this while remaining edible, or else you have to restart the level. You’ll have an edibility bar up top that drains the more dirty spots you touch.
All four top shoulder buttons of your controller are responsible for each corner of the bread. You’ll do a lot of holding down one button to grip onto surfaces while moving the left analog stick to use momentum and swing your bread slightly then press another button to grab on and move around. It can be quite rewarding to quickly move across a wall. But as soon as you feel you’ve mastered some of the game’s controls, minutes of work can be quickly undone if your Grip meter runs out or if you make one small mistake. A huge pile of boxes you were painstakingly close to climbing over can quickly become a huge pile of boxes you were about to climb.
This roller coaster ride of challenges will turn a lot of people off. This game and its very genre is not for everybody. I think the reason why these types of games are generally created to be short experiences is because of how difficult they are to control. When you extend that difficulty throughout multiple levels over a handful of game modes, it can be a true test of your resolve. The game’s story mode does, however, try to mitigate that frustration by offering a power-up that makes you permanently edible after you fail a level a couple of times. It does help with the frustration, but if you do pick it up it kind if feels like a lot of the game’s challenge is gone.
Much A-Dough About Muffin
Besides the story mode, all the other modes are self-explanatory. I’d argue that all the other game modes are more entertaining and a lot less frustrating than the story mode, so if you want to reduce the intrinsic frustration when you play this game, I’d recommend avoiding the story mode altogether. To its credit, where else are you able to play as a baguette, violently swinging around to destroy fine china?
I am Bread is a great example of how to do a QWOP-style game right. It offers a great amount of content and variety thanks to its multiple game modes. It embraces its ridiculousness and creates a fun, unique, sometimes frustrating experience that’s not for everyone. If this is a genre you enjoy, or you want to try something out of your comfort zone, I highly recommend you give I Am Bread a try.
Watch the trailer for I Am Bread below: