“Straight outta strangeness” is I Am Bread. Developed by Bossa Studios, this flour-filled title comes from the same minds behind the massively popular Surgeon Simulator 2013. However, rather than dive into the human body at the mercy of the digital gods, players will find themselves controlling a small slice of bread whose only goal is to get toasted.
Achieving char satisfaction can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Anything that can be heated or is somewhat flammable can be used to toast your slice. This opens the game up for different approaches, all of which are rewarding, to say the least.
Taking place on eight different suburban themed levels, this physics puzzler racks in a near six hours of gameplay, varying on your degree of control mastery of course. With R1, L1, LB and RB at your disposal, the player is able to control the corners of the bread to move, grip and slop around the environment.
You are not free to explore anywhere, however. If you find yourself falling off a table or walloping off the side of a countertop, your “edibility” (health) will start to decrease once the bread touches an unsanitary surface. Also, grip is limited in I Am Bread. Although you are able to grip onto surfaces to move around, you can only hold on for so long until the grip is released. If this unfortunate event occurs while gripping a wall Spider-Man style, your edibility will certainly suffer.
I know, the controls sound infuriating and to most accounts, they completely are. That being said, I Am Bread —although gratifying, is not accessible to everyone. Similar to Octodad, I Am Bread is inherently punishing. You will find yourself either pulling your hair out your scalp or navigating with a careless smile, channeling your continuous defeat into intense, gluten-fueled motivation.
For those who cannot stand the idea of such a trial or tribulation, a boost exists in-game which allows players to enter into infinite edibility and grip mode after failing numerous times. Alas, there is hope for us!
Aside from its mildly enjoyable campaign, I Am Bread also includes numerous gameplay modes which allow players to step away from one maddening style of play into another. Players may find themselves destroying their surrounding environment as a reckless baguette in Rampage mode or hurdling stinky cheese at wavering crackers in Cheese Hunt mode.
Those who find themselves masters of the game’s controls will be right at home in Zero-G mode where your slice is given space thrusters to navigate through space-like terrain to achieve an end goal. There is also Bagel Race mode which challenges players to balance an unsteady bagel through a slightly unforgiving racing scenario. Lastly, there is Free Mode which grants players the access to I Am Bread’s core gameplay style without the consequence of losing edibility or grip. Although Free Mode may prove to be an excellent tutorial to story mode, it is not as enjoyable as its counterpart, considering its lack of danger and final achievement.
Although completely unique, I Am Bread can be mildly frustrating for those who do not particularly enjoy a challenge. As gamers, we are often tasked with overcoming difficult scenarios. Whether it is an indestructible titan hurdling toward us, or a highly skilled entourage of clan gamers, we can train ourselves to overcome those scenarios through practice and learning. I Am Bread is no different. After several attempts at success, the game begins to make more sense and steadily becomes less infuriating to play.
Don’t get me wrong, I Am Bread is challenging from start to finish, but if you do make it to the end, you will be glad that you did.
This review was based on a review copy of I Am Bread for the PlayStation 4 provided by Bossa Studios.