by Marko Susimetsä
reviewed on PC
When I first heard about I am Bread, my first thought was that it would be a nice little game to play with my daughter to teach her about physics. How utterly wrong I was. Perhaps I would have had a better idea if I had immediately paid attention to the developer, Bossa Studios, and remembered that they were behind the utterly baffling Surgeon Simulator 2013 as well. Perhaps I would've been better prepared for what I was getting into.
Journey of Bread
The game opens with a view of a fridge door from which you can start a new game. It appears that you will have many, many different kinds of levels to play through, but the central theme in all of them is the same: You are a slice of unsavoury wheat bread and it is your goal to get yourself toasted. Different levels start from more or less likely places for a slice of bread to find itself such as a kitchen table, or starting out in a bathroom. The ways to get toasted vary from getting to the old-fashioned toaster to other possibly hot places, such as a hair dryer.
Unlike your run-of-the-mill slices of bread, you are actually able to move by your own volition. You shuffle and wobble and flop your way across tables, walls etc. but try to avoid floors and wet spots and other areas that might ruin your edibility. Rather than giving you an easy start, the very first level asks you to cross an entire room to get to the toaster.
In addition to the story mode, the game offers various unlockable non-story modes. Apparently these include modes like Rampage where you, as a baguette, can break objects around you, Bagel Race where you roll across an obstacle course and Zero-G where you can play as a space bread and use your thrusters to navigate a zero-G obstacle course. Since I never managed to unlock any of these, rating them is impossible.
The So-Called Controls
The control method is pretty interesting. You use the shoulder buttons of your controller (yes, I played with a controller as proposed by the game as the most convenient way to play the game) to grab onto surfaces with any of the four corners of the bread slice. Then you push the stick around, trying to figure out a way to toss the bread forward and then grab the surface with another corner and repeat the trick. You can also use the controller buttons to lock onto surfaces for a while, which is handy when you try to cross floors riding a skateboard. However, all these grabs and locks are temporary and you need to move quickly if you want to climb up a wall before you lose your grip and fall back down.
It needs to be said that, as the bread flips and flops, it gets really easy to lose your sense of which corner of the bread is which and thus you end up punching those shoulder buttons randomly, hoping to hit the correct one before your bread falls off that wall again. And again. And again. Like in Surgeon Simulator, it becomes clear very quickly that the developers didn’t even want to make the controls easy. Instead, the insanity is meant as another challenge. Now, I can see myself mastering the controls over time and I can also imagine that the game would be more enjoyable at that point. However, I don’t see any sense in spending time to develop skills that are only useful in this single game and for dubious rewards.
Not For The Easily Frustrated (Not For Me)
I am Bread certainly has a unique and crazy idea. But, personally, that’s the extent to which I found enjoyment out of it. The controls are awkward and my interest dropped faster than the bread fell off the skateboard as I tried to figure out a way to steer it along the floor. Perhaps you need to be a bit of a masochist to enjoy, or to keep trying to play, this game for longer than 20 minutes at a time. For me, that was the extent to which I was willing to torture myself. The game score is as high as it is because the game seems to be just what it wants to be: The graphics work, the controls work and there are no bugs in view. The main thing lacking is the enjoyment.
Aimed At Masochists