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I really wanted to love I Am Bread, but I can’t.
The puzzle-ish, platformer-esque adventure, out now for PC and Mac, comes courtesy of Surgeon Simulator 2013 developer Bossa Games, and it maintains that earlier game’s weird atmosphere and intentionally janky controls. It casts you as a plucky and persistent slice of bread on a journey of self-fulfillment, and that’s exactly as ridiculous as it sounds.
It’s a fun game that’s sure to appeal to seekers of the Perfect Run and players who love mastering outlandish control schemes, but it really wants to be funnier than it actually is.
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What you’ll like
The silly plot
Yes, I Am Bread has a plot, and it’s completely bizarre.
You start out in the kitchen, which makes sense because you’re food. Your goal, as in every stage, is to find something in the room that is hot enough to transform you from bread to toast while keeping yourself as edible as possible (such as staying off of the floor and out of swarms of ants). But the owner of the house notices that something is weird, and it drives him slowly insane. Your goal is to continue becoming toast as the homeowner moves everything into different rooms in an attempt to stop the carb-fueled destruction you’re bringing down on him.
What this means for you is that you have to get creative with your toasting methods. The game doesn’t do a whole lot to point you in a direction, so you’ll have some problem-solving to do. But the main thing is that it will behoove you not to fall into the toilet or onto the disgusting rug in the lounge.
The controls are challenging but flexible
Players of Surgeon Simulator 2013 may remember its cumbersome and granular controls. That game had you controlling individual fingers of a hand to use tools and perform complex surgeries, and it was as difficult as that sounds.
I Am Bread has similarly weird controls mapped to each corner of your crusty hero. Pressing a key or button causes the corresponding corner to “grab” onto surfaces, and another layer of inputs lets you attach to objects and bring them along with you. You have a Shadow of the Colossus-style grip meter that depletes as you cling, so you need to make sure you can get to a level spot before you drop to the floor and lose progress.
The buttons combine with your mouse or analog stick to get you around. Basic movement includes flipping the bread end-over-end, pivoting to “swing” up a wall, and carefully timed releases to fling the slice across gaps.
It takes a while to get the hang of it, but advanced players have already figured out how to leverage these mechanics to make the bread roll on its side and cross entire rooms by crawling along the wall like Spider-Man. With enough time, you can also be Spider-Man, but you’re going to start out as graceful and dynamic as the actual bread slices in your cupboard.
Bonus game modes add variety and extend playtime
As you go through I Am Bread’s story mode, you unlock additional minigames and challenges to try out if you get tired of trying to get the stupid electrical box in the Petrol Station level open without it swinging back shut as soon as you let go of it.
Screw you, electrical box.
These modes are Free Play, Rampage, Bagel Race, Cheese Hunt, and Zero G. Free Play lets you explore a level to find new routes and secrets without worrying about staying tasty or clean. Rampage has you controlling a baguette with its own clumsy controls (you only have the two ends) and a mission to smash everything in the room. Bagel Race is a checkpoint-based time trial with the most accessible controls in the game because bagels just wanna roll, man. In Cheese Hunt, you play as a cracker searching rooms for bits of smelly milk curd, and Zero G has you using a jet-propelled sled to carry a slice of bread to its toasting in rooms where everything is floating around all crazy-like.
You’re sure to find something you enjoy in one of these, although every one but the racing minigame maintains versions of the base game’s intensive controls. Zero G is particularly difficult; your craft has multiple thrusters on each corner, and you have to use the buttons and sticks together to fire the ones you want and get to where you’re going.
But they’re mostly fun and offer a break if you want to play the game but don’t feel like trying to shave seconds off of your time in the main levels.