Bossa Studios’ I Am Bread is a sandbox simulator in which the player controls a lone piece of bread with one mission: become toast. The story of I Am Bread revolves around the protagonist, a piece of bread, journeying through each room of Mr. Murton’s home and toasting itself to the perfect temperature on a variety of home appliances. The game relies on physics and player intuition to travel across spaces that seem vast and daunting to a small piece of bread, all the while trying to maintain the highest degree of edibility.
My time with I Am Bread left me with exactly what I expected: a game about bread becoming toast. While I did expect a more relaxed game with an amusing story, I certainly did not expect to play something this frustrating and unforgiving. While I Am Bread’s reliance on physics in controlling the bread is a cool concept, perhaps it needs to be a little more fleshed out before the simulator genre can fully adopt such a frustratingly hard style of play.
Here’s what I liked:
Hilarious idea for a game – I’ll say this now: I loved the concept of this game. The odyssey of a lowly piece of bread trying to achieve its sole purpose in life is just simply hysterical. The way the bread just flops around the house makes it that much more adorable and relatable. As you progress through each level, the home owner becomes more and more paranoid, as he’s thinking people are breaking into his home. Honestly, who can blame him? In each level players encounter, they end up displacing or breaking most things in his home, with the only evidence of a culprit being a toasted single piece of bread. Mr. Murton’s descent into madness as the bread ransacks his home was simply side-splitting.
Cool environments – Each level of I Am Bread starts you off far from your objective and leaves you to your own decisions on how to get to an appliance that can toast you. You find yourself questioning whether it’s worth crossing the room to the television to see if that can toast you, or perhaps heading to the writing desk to try the computer or curling iron. You know the clothes iron will most certainly toast you but it’s in a tricky position and could be your demise. These decisions are the backbone of the entire game. Another awesome feature is fully interactive and destructible objects cover most areas of the environments. The graphics aren’t winning any awards, but they are decent and won’t take away from the player’s experience.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Frustrating Controls – The moment you begin your first playthrough of I AM BREAD, you realize how hard your journey is going to be. You see the toaster across the room, but find yourself hardly being able to flop or twist in a straight line. The controls force you to crunch your controller bumpers and triggers in awkward combinations over and over. Once you finally started to flop in the direction you wanted to go, chances are you probably fell to the floor and died within seconds. I Am Bread is extremely unforgiving, seeing as even when you’re made considerable distance across the room, one mistake and you’ll have to start all the way over with no checkpoints. When you finally make it to the toaster or appliance that will toast you, actually getting into it turns out to be one of the most frustrating and difficult parts of the game. On top of it all, the camera angle just never feels right. You’ll spend a tremendous amount of time fighting the camera to get it into a useable position. During most of the levels of the game, I found myself desperately muttering “Please let this end.”
Zero replay value – Don’t get me wrong, I seriously appreciate a game that presents itself in a difficult but possible way. Finding that perfect blend of difficulty and player forgiveness can make or break a game. I Am Bread crossed the line into territory that will have you finish a level and swear to never play that level again. Seriously, the only reason you’ll load up a level again in Story Mode is to pass the controller to a friend and say, “Here, just see if you can beat this.” The other game modes are fun, like Bagel Race and Rampage, but quickly lose their appeal as well. Zero G was my favorite game mode, just because it was awesome to see the space physics working in zero gravity. It was however, nearly impossible to beat any stage in Zero G.
Lack of interface and instructions – The entirety of I Am Bread’s interface consists of Edibility, Grip, and Time Played. That’s it. There’s no objective markers, no power-ups beyond “Magic Marmalade” which makes you inexplicably invincible and no instructions beyond “Become Toast!” The game is already hard enough just considering the controls, and there really is no reason to leave out basic directions or objective markers for the player. I understand this is a sandbox game, but the player does need a bone thrown their way every so often.
As you can see, I found more things negative about I Am Bread than positive. I understand the attraction to such a meme-worthy game and why some consider it to be a great game. But trust me on this: after about 30 minutes of gameplay, you’ve seen everything I Am Bread has to offer.
Score: Reader’s Choice
I AM BREAD was developed and published by Bossa Studios. It was released for Xbox One on January 20th, 2017 for $12.99. An early copy was provided for review purposes.