Fresh off the heels off their smash-hit Youtube-fodder game Surgeon Simulator, Bossa Studios are back at it again. They seem to have carved out a bit of a niche for themselves making games so bad that they are brilliant, and their latest title is true to form. Where Surgeon Simulator cast you as a would-be surgeon in the operating room, I Am Bread has you playing as, well, a slice of bread.
The secret life of bread is much as you’d expect, really. When no one else is around it springs to life and attempts to drag its floppy little self to the toaster, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Much like poor old Nigel from Surgeon Simulator those crusty slices don’t have much control over themselves and can only flop flail and fall as they make their way across the room, to achieve their ultimate goal of becoming a tasty slice of toast. It makes for marvellous viewing and Bossa will, no-doubt, have another instant Youtube smash-hit on their hands. As an Early Access title though, each crunchy bite of I Am Bread is accompanied by an incomplete, doughy mouthful that’s ready to be re-moulded.
Each level of I Am Bread is split into the different rooms of Mr Murton’s household – more on him later – and you’ll need to traverse obstacles, climb walls and avoid various nasties – and that’s before you’ve even started to take note of your edibility counter. Once it reaches zero, it’s game over. After all, nobody want’s to eat food that’s dragged itself across muddy footprints or a cat litter tray! Once you’ve made it to toaster heaven you’ll need to wrestle yourself into it and fulfill your lifelong dream. It may sound simple, but remember: this is a Bossa game.
You’ll control your slice of bread by pressing the numerical keys, 1-4, on your keyboard (or various buttons on your controller), with each number corresponding to one of your crusty corners. Pressing each key allows you to grab on to whichever surface you are pressed up against, and you can swing yourself round by moving the mouse, but there’s a real knack to moving efficiently. Think of the first time you played QWOP, and possibly the hundredth time you played it, I’ll bet you flailed around a lot and ended up with your arse over your elbow; that’s the kind of amusing / infuriating (delete as appropriate) challenge I Am Bread offers.
Surprisingly, the game has a proper story, and each level is accompanied by excerpts from Mr Murton’s therapist case files. Old man Murton seems to be a bit of a cantankerous trouble maker, with a particular dislike of Carpet World and the local council – and you might be exacerbating his condition! I won’t give too much away, but suffice to say, it adds a slightly sinister edge to the cheery atmosphere of the game.
The opening level starts you off at the kitchen table, which is littered with all of the usual breakfast items like jam, eggs, saucers, and cups and you’ll no doubt end up smashing the whole lot to pieces and covering yourself in said jam. Faliling around is glorious fun, but there’s a job to be done! Once you’ve started to get to grips with the controls, you’ll be looking for a safe passage to other surfaces. Touching the floor, for the most part, isn’t an option as it decreases your edibility rating, fortunately, and puzzlingly, if you can make it from the table to Mr Murton’s skateboard, you can scoot to the breakfast bar.
Mr Murton isn’t one for tidying up, as an insect infestation has taken over said breakfast bar – the dirty sod! With edibility in mind you’ll need to haphazardly tiptoe (tipcrust ?) around them and make your way around the fridge to bring yourself ever closer to the toaster promised land. After a few attempts, and even more cursing, we really got into the swing of things here – quite literally. Clinging to the walls and other surfaces is tricky but it’s also quite intuitive as well. By gripping with your northern-most crust and swinging around in an upwards motion you can make huge strides towards the surface you are trying to reach. Bear in mind you have a limited amount of grip, so you are against the clock when you are holding onto a surface.
Making it to the toaster is only half of the challenge – getting yourself in is the other half, and it feels a little more challenging than it needs to be. Getting on top of it is fine, but sliding into one of its slots is another matter. I can’t count how many times I made it to the toaster, only to tip it off the countertop, or end up flailing around on top of it like I was on a bucking bronco. I’m sure this was all hilarious to watch, but the ‘fun to watch-VS-fun to play’ equation needs some balancing.
Bossa, in an absolute stroke of genius, have seen it fit to include GIF recording functionality that stores your mishaps to memory, and allows you to export them to Twitter and Facebook. Sadly, this feature isn’t working at the moment, meaning we can’t share any of our hilarious misadventures but expect the internet to be flooded with GIFs of bread in incredible situations, as soon as it does.
As an Early Access title I Am Bread‘s mechanics are surprisingly solid, but there are some minor issues. The whole experience would be a lot more enjoyable if the mouse movement wasn’t quite so erratic as it currently is. Having said that, Bossa will have to delicately balance the ‘fun to watch-VS-fun to play’ equation to appease players, viewers and Youtubers. The action would also benefit greatly from the ability to zoom out a little, allowing you to survey the level and plot your route. Currently, when in a tight squeeze, the camera tends to get a bit erratic, so I hope that is addressed as a matter of priority.
Our first taste of I Am Bread has been surprisingly tasty. While the game is still undoubtedly Youtube-fodder, created specifically with the intent of being a viral Youtube success, it feels more substantial than Surgeon Simulator ever was. Although it is still a bit chewy in places, with a little more time in the developmental oven I Am Bread promises to be a crunchy treat, and one of Bossa’s best!
I Am Bread is available on Steam.