At it most basic core, Braid is simply a puzzle-platformer game. But looking at its whole, it's more than that. It's a well-told story and a journey of exploration. To the player, the game will be a much greater experience if played without any sort of aid like this guide. Even the official walkthrough pleads the players of the game to find the solutions to the problems in Braid by themselves.
Please do not use a walkthrough. Braid does not have a linear story the way most games do, so Getting To The End is not necessarily what you would expect. The idea of "beating the game" does not apply so much, here. Braid is about the journey, not the destination. If you use a walkthrough to bypass some of the puzzles, you will be robbing yourself of that journey.
All puzzles and conundrums in Braid are solvable in no-nonsense, thought-through ways.
All the puzzles in Braid are reasonable. They don't require you to do anything random; they don't require guessing. They don't require trial and error. The solutions tend to be simple and natural. They flow directly from the rules of gameplay in each world.
That being said, there are still concepts and mechanics that are reasonable for players to familiarize themselves with before playing the game. Those will be gone through here in this chapter.
Braid is a story about Tim, the character you—the player—will be controlling. Your standard platformer tropes apply in his world too: Tim can run, jump, climb and more. However, Braid is interestingly also controlled by the use of time manipulation. The effects and means of that manipulation changes through the game's different worlds, and are explained in the walkthrough as they are introduced. Read about them there. Or better yet, find out about them yourself.
The most basic form of time control is available right from the very time the game begins. Holding will rewind time, and all actions Tim made—and indeed all actions of everything around him—will begin to be reversed. The and buttons can be used to control the speed of time while rewinding. Pressing while rewinding time will decrease the speed of time (to a maximum of -8x; backward at eight times real-time). Pressing will have the opposite effect a will increase the speed of time (to a maximum 8x, forward at eight times real-time). Right between the maximums is a 0x mode which will pause time. It can be useful when contemplating the conundrums of the game. More about the rest of the game's controls can be found in the Controls section.
Items and interactive objects
Scattered throughout almost every level will be puzzle pieces for Tim to pick up. They are always in plain sight for the player, but most often will be reachable only by solving one of the game's puzzling obstacle courses. There will be a total of 60 puzzle pieces to collect, spread out evenly over five worlds (12 in each).
When having collected all the puzzle pieces in one of the worlds, they can be assembled and turned into a beautiful painting. Before finding any pieces, these paintings will just be blank canvases. When a piece is collected, it will be added to the canvas and can be used to solve the puzzle. You can access these paintings/canvases through Tim's house and through one specific level in every world.
Through the journey of Braid, cannons will pop up in many levels. They come in various trim; Some can help Tim and some may try to stop him. Some emit puffy clouds, some shoot burning fireballs. Some fire on a timed basis, some require some action of the player to open fire.
Gates and keys
At some points Tim will find himself locked out of some areas by a sturdy-looking gate which is only unlockable by the use of a key. To pick up the key, Tim simply needs to touch it, and he'll hold on to it until he can't any more (by dying, for instance); it cannot be dropped by the player. Tim automatically uses the key and unlocks a gate when bringing the two together. But beware, the key will break when unlocking a gate, so you only get one unlocked gate per key.
Doors take you between levels in Braid. They're different from gates in that they require the player to push the button to open them. Doors can be used to reset a level if you manage to make an irreversible error in one. Every item except puzzle pieces and stars will be reset at their original places if you exit a level—like through a door—and enter it again.
In certain areas there will be levers placed. These can be interacted with by pressing the button. When the lever is pulled something will happen at some place. Perhaps a path will open up, a key will drop down, or a platform will start moving.
Friends and Foes
There will be both friendly creatures and not-so-friendly creatures to encounter in Braid. Who they are and their purpose in Tim's adventures are however largely integral to the story and are huge spoilers. The Appendices section of this guide document the enemies and the characters encountered through Tim's journey, but read at discretion.