Game

They say man does not live by bread alone; sometimes he prefers toast. In I am Bread, your job is to maneuver a sentient slice of thick white around the house on a quest to fulfill its dreams and become toast. Really.

Price: $4.99 / $3.99
Version: 1.1
Size: 482 MB
Developer: Bossa Studios Ltd

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(Apologies in advance for the crummy bread puns spread throughout this review. See if you can spot the full baker’s dozen.)

I am Bread follows in the footsteps of similarly bizarre ‘flopcore’ hits like Goat Simulator and Octodad, offbeat indie games that rely on a combination of ragdoll physics and clumsy controls to both delight and bewilder players. The kind of games that revel in taking simple tasks and making them needlessly, hilariously difficult. The developers are known for 2013’s darkly funny Surgeon Simulator – unusual games are their bread and butter, and this one’s no different.

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This should be easy. I literally eat toast for breakfast.

The game consists of eight open levels, each based in a different part of the house or garden. You pass each level by adequately cooking yourself, but of course only the initial kitchen stage features an actual toaster. Elsewhere you’ll need to stop loafing around and get creative to achieve maximum ‘toast quality’ – will you gently fry yourself on the stove, hug a lightbulb or take a quick nap under a hot iron?

On your travels you’ll need to watch out for any dirty surfaces that might make you less palatable, as the game is over if you drop to 0% on the edibility scale. The game has a reasonably liberal view of what constitutes dirt, though: falling to the floor is a big no-no, but clambering around the lid of a trash can or rolling in broken glass is considered fair game.

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Toast both sides to 100% to complete the level.

The controls are straightforward, but strangely imprecise: swipe to flop, tap to hop. You can hold a finger onscreen to ‘grip’ surfaces with the corners of the bread, and with a bit of practice you’ll be able to topple objects or climb walls with alternating thumb-swipes.

That’s the theory, anyway. Exactly how the bread responds to these simple inputs relies on positioning, environment, and – seemingly – some kind of arcane dark magic. It turns out that handling bread is far from a piece of cake. Although the dubious controls can be responsible for some of the game’s funniest moments, once the novelty wears off the game swings quickly from fun to frustrating.

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Oh crumbs. Landing on the floor spells disaster for your edibility rating.

While the main goal is to transform yourself into a delicious grilled snack, the game is built around exploration and aimlessly messing around is very much encouraged. Every level has a multitude of objects to interact with, and there are plenty of hidden achievements to be awarded for inventive play. If you can stomach the controls, it’s a joy just to flounder around the room, clumsily staggering into breakables or flopping down into a puddle of jam.

The physics engine is used to good effect as a puzzle-solving tool. You can knock over stacks of boxes to create makeshift stepping stones, or tip over a standing lamp over for a quick ride across the room. Bowling balls are left precariously on high-up shelves, toy rockets can be ignited and you can even roll around on a skateboard. (Very slowly.)

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You’re awarded a ranking based on speed, edibility and toast quality.

Compared to the original PC release, this iOS port feels just a little half-baked. The graphics are poorly optimized – even on a non-retina iPad mini some of the textures look distinctly crusty. Meanwhile the controls have also lost a little fidelity in the transition to a touchscreen device, with the simplicity of the input system making it very hard to progress beyond perpetual butterfingers. Admittedly much of the game’s charm comes from struggling against the innate immobility of bread, but it would be nice to eventually be able to jump and climb with something approaching finesse.

I am Bread is a ridiculous, frustrating, totally bonkers game – and it’s great fun, up to a point. But it definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea; this is an alternative App Store hit for open-minded gamers. Flopcore fanatics will definitely want to grab a slice of the action, but at $4.99 casual gamers may wish to think twice before spending their dough.

Review: I am Bread – not your run-of-the-mill adventure game
A fresh slice of absurd fun that unfortunately gets stale a little too quickly.
For
  • Unique, silly concept
  • Lots of freedom to explore
  • Very funny at times
Against
  • Frustrating controls
  • Little gameplay variety
  • Slightly iffy graphics
3.6Overall Score
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