Remember that era when games were mostly headlined by muscular men, scantily-clad women or cartoon-like anthropomorphic animals? I Am Bread takes an intense departure from that trend. The protagonist is a sentient, highly-articulate slice of bread whose greatest dream is becoming toast. The story of Bread coincides with the story of an old man known as Mr. Murton who is taking therapy sessions in order to cope with the reality that his home is being wrecked one room at a time for no apparent reason, without any sign of forced entry, any suspects and the only clue being a single slice of toasted bread every time.
I Am Bread is an action-adventure simulation game developed and published by Bossa Studios, a British software and game developer and the same geniuses who brought us Surgeon Simulator and Thomas Was Alone.
I am Bread
Alright, despite the rather gloomy back-story, I Am Bread is a really amusing game. It’s hilarious. I Am Bread puts us in the flesh and blood (or should I say crust and crumbs?) of the hero, the slice of bread (from now on we’ll just call him “Bread”) on his epic journey to become toast. The playability is heavily physics-influenced. We control Bread using four gripping points matching the four tips of the slice that can be mapped to keyboard keys or joy pad buttons. I stoutly suggest using a joy pad to avoid the additional difficulty that playing with mouse and keyboard provides and also to avoid annoyance. The joy pad stick or mouse is used to push Bread around. The basics of controlling Bread can be learnt in a very enlightening tutorial. Moving and climbing is not undemanding but neither is difficult. Many objects in the game can be broken and several others can be pushed or moved around, mainly to be used to travel from one surface to another. Like, for example, tipping a chair to create a bridge crossing from a table to a countertop. This is a lot trickier than merely moving around and requires a huge amount of trial and error and withstanding frustration.
There are two indicators to be considered: The “grip” indicator and the “edibility” indicator. The “grip indicator” shows how firmly Bread is grasped to the current surface. If we are not standing on a flat surface and the grip indicator hits zero, Bread will most likely fall away to his death or lose a great deal of progress. The “edibility indicator” is the innuendo “HP bar” of I Am Bread. The edibility indicator decreases if Bread hits the floor or any other dirty surface. If the “edibility indicator” hits zero, it’s game over for Bread and we have to start that stage over. The edibility indicator also counts for the score when a level is completed. The more edible Bread is, the highest the score. Bread’s “deliciousness” can be increased by rolling on certain substances such as cheese, butter or fruit jam. That also adds to the overall score of the stage.
I Am Bread is an exceedingly hard and complex game. Despite that, it is a game that keeps dragging me back. I am always ready to get in the crust and crumbs of Bread and help him complete his quest. And what about Mr. Murton? Will he finally go insane? To make things even better, there are several additional bonus game modes complementary to the Story Mode. There is Rampage Mode that consists in breaking stuff with Bread’s evil cousin, Baguette. Bagel Race mode consists in racing through makeshift circuits throughout the game’s many stages playing as Bagel. Cheese Hunt features Cracker in his quest to get spread with cheese. All of them are really entertaining and add to the already innovative playability. There are at least two additional game modes but I won’t spoil them for you, they’re simply too hilarious and unique and I don’t want to ruin the surprise.
The game’s 3D cartoon-like graphics are neatly done and work okay, apart from for some minor clipping issues when Bread moves too abruptly. The design is really neat too, Mr. Murton’s house is perfectly depicted as a kitsch ’50s apartment. The music is well composed, even if the tunes can get rather monotonous when playing the same level over and over again due to high difficulty. The sound effects were taken from free libraries and that makes that aspect of the game a little uninspiring, but it’s an indie release so I guess it’s acceptable, they couldn’t spend a lot of cash in recording a whole new set of sound effects.
To sum up, despite a rather silly premise, I Am Bread is an incredibly profound and complicate game that somehow entices gamers to keep going back to it and play further. And the bonus game modes add a whole load of fun too. With 35 achievements, many of them requiring perfect scores, it’s a completionist’s nightmare. Go ahead with it if you’re looking for a game without an overly profound plot and challenging playability. You may even find more than you bargained for.