I am Bread Review – Burnt Edges (PS4)
UK developer Bossa Studios shot into the consciousness of gamers with their hit Surgeon Simulator, which released on PS4 last year. The game found many fans thanks to its combination of humor and devilishly difficult controls. While many never mastered the controls of Surgeon Simulator, it was still a blast to completely botch surgeries. Bossa Studios’ latest jam, I am Bread, takes the same core ideas from their previous title, but can the studio possibly strike the perfect balance between frustration and fun twice?
For the most part if you enjoyed the unique lunacy that Surgeon Simulator brought to the operating table, then you’ll be right at home with I am Bread. While Bossa Studios’ first PlayStation 4 title had a more realistic setting (well, at least initially), I am Bread has players controlling a piece of bread. Yes, you read that correctly. You are not a hero trying to save the world, rather you are a piece of bread that just wants to fulfill his destiny by becoming toast!
The most striking similarity to Surgeon Simulator is in how I am Bread controls. Which is to say that the game controls like a hot mess when you first play the game. It makes sense that a slice of bread would not make for the most mobile of protagonists, but the game’s controls will likely be anyone who downloads the title without knowing what they are in for.
While the control scheme is initially baffling, it eventually becomes pretty familiar to the player. Using the four shoulder buttons on the DualShock 4 controller, the player can use the four edges of the bread to cling onto objects. Once stuck to an object, the player can then twist and turn the bread. The controls are comparable to speaking a second language, as you might be able to do it pretty well, but you still have to think about it more than if you were speaking your native tongue.
As stated earlier, the goal in each of the game’s eight story levels is to lead your bread on a quest to become toast. This means you’ll have to guide your piece of bread up walls and into something that will cause it to become toast. It isn’t quite as simple as just becoming toast, however, since you want to be consumed eventually, you’ll have to make sure your piece of toast is edible. That means you’ll want to avoid a lot of each level’s environment. Yes, I am Bread is essentially the game you played as a kid where you pretended the floor was lava. Except that instead of just avoiding the lava, you are trying to become a piece of toast.
Becoming toast isn’t as simple as it may sound, in fact, it is very difficult! I am Bread is one of the most challenging games on PlayStation 4. Not only will you be fighting the controls, you’ll also have to treat each level as an obstacle course due to the many hazards to your overall edibility. Thankfully, the game realizes that some players just want to have fun, so after a few deaths you can become invincible if you choose to break a jar of magic marmalade. This means that anyone, with enough perseverance, can enjoy and see everything that I am Bread has to offer. Kudos to Bossa Studios for making their game accessible to players of all skill levels.
The most surprising area where I am Bread shines is in its story. Yes, somehow I am Bread manages to tell a more captivating, highly disturbing story than most games. It is difficult to go into without spoiling the outcome, but fans of Surgeon Simulator will be very happy with what happens.
Sadly, sometimes the timer is off on a toaster and a piece of bread pops out before it’s really toasted. This seems to be the case with I am Bread as the game has quite a few technical issues. While each unique level has plenty of objects to climb over, these are also obstacles that you might glitch into. It wasn’t uncommon to see a run end, not due to player error (although that did happen quite often), but due to the piece of bread becoming stuck in an object. To be honest, this almost added to the absurd comedy of I am Bread, but it is still frustrating to see a perfectly good run go down the drain.
Besides the glitches, I am Bread also suffers from a broken camera. Despite being a piece of bread, your character ends up in some pretty impractical places (such as the most clean garbage can in the world as it somehow doesn’t hurt your edibility). The camera struggles in tight corridors (such as boxes), which makes the game even more difficult to control in spots. It wasn’t a constant battle, but you will have to contend with the camera way more than is reasonable.
Besides the surprisingly dark story mode, I am Bread also has four other modes for players to check out. These include a time trial racing game where you steer a bagel throughout the environments seen in the story mode. This is a real mode, I’m honest. A hilarious mode where you use a baguette to destroy every object in a room, and a mode where you must use a cracker to find several pieces of hidden cheese. Last but not least is a mode that features zero gravity.
Yes, somehow I am Bread managed to outdo its own brand of stupidity, by removing gravity. In this mode, your piece of bread is attached to a jetpack. The goal is still to become toast, but now every object in the game is floating around. It wasn’t the best mode in the collection, but it certainly should be lauded for its pure lunacy.
I am Bread is initially a very frustrating game to play, but it makes up for it by being full of charm and character. While the controls may never become second nature, there is a lot of fun to be had in Bossa Studios’ second PS4 game. While it’s still a patch or two away from being an easy recommendation (fix that camera!), I am Bread is still worth a purchase if you are looking for a fun title in the vein of Surgeon Simulator.
Review code for I am Bread provided by publisher. Reviewed on PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here