There have been some pretty wacky characters to control in videogames over the years, but surely a slice of bread must, ahem, take the biscuit? Yet, as the name suggests, Bossa Studios’ bizarre but amusing physics-based game does indeed put you at the helm of that most prosaic of foodstuffs.
Now, as you could imagine, moving a slab of sentient wheat around is a non-trivial task, but this PS4 version of a game that has already appeared on the PC and Mac (and also arrives on iOS) gives you some quite imaginative controls, with each corner of your slice mapped to one of the triggers or bumpers, so that when you depress them, they grip whatever surface they are touching. Thus, you can revolve your slice around one or two corners, and you can also anchor yourself to objects, and use the tiny bit of momentum you generate to move them around, too.
Since you’re a piece of bread, your objective in each of the Story Mode levels is to turn yourself into toast. Easy enough when you’re in the kitchen, since you just have to manoeuvre your way over to the toaster, but elsewhere in the house in which I Am Bread is set, you need to reach some rather more inventive heating devices. There’s a big catch, though: if you get too dirty, you become too unappealing to eat, so you must start again. That rules out using the floor, obviously, and you have to look out for other dirty patches in your path. Plus, a grip meter governs the amount of time for which you can stick to any wall (if only you played as a piece of wholemeal bread, you might be a bit stronger), so you have to plan movements from surface to surface carefully. Luckily, there are handy objects like skateboards you can use for that and you can, for example, push chairs over so that they lean against walls.
I Am Bread is all very amusing, but its designed-in clunkiness can become more than a tad frustrating – it’s definitely a game for the patient. Much like OctoDad, in fact, with a few hints of Katamari Damacy (although the latter is much more forgiving than I Am Bread).
But there are a number of game modes which inject bit more urgency into proceedings. Bagel Race sees you rolling a bagel around, while Rampage is quite handy for relieving pent-up frustrations, as it puts you in control of a baguette and invites you to smash everything you see. In Cheese Hunt, you’re a cracker seeking five pieces of stinky cheese – which is more fun than it sounds, since the cracker is more manoeuvrable than a slice of bread. Zero G does away with gravity, fits your bread-slice with a tiny thruster, and is completely bonkers – particularly since the camera also seems to have been freed from the shackles of gravity, so you’ll need considerable spatial awareness to even see where you need to get to. Those who regularly experience motion-sickness should steer clear of that.
I Am Bread is a curiosity which positively revels in its eccentricity. If you see yourself as an obsessive puzzle-solver, you’ll love it, and it’s also true that there are plenty of game-modes which will suit those not known for their unflinching concentration and steely will. It will make you laugh, for sure – and at some point will almost certainly induce you to throw your controller across the room. Hardly essential, but definitely original.