If you interviewed one hundred gamers and asked them what kind of experience they would like from a game, I’m sure that we could all guess many of the key concepts that would be popular. Guns, vehicles, swords, magic.
It is understandable that publishers and developers would listen to the majority, creating experiences that are desired by the largest number of people. However, within those one hundred gamers there is always going to be one weirdo, one person who gives the most unexpected and unusual answer.
I think it’s great that the majority of gamers are getting the experiences that they desire, but every now and then I’m sure that we all wish that developers would listen to that one person and create a totally new and uniquely bizarre experience. I Am Bread from Bossa Studios is that experience.
I Am Bread is, as the title suggests, a bread simulator. More specifically, it simulates the life of a sentient slice of bread who desires nothing more in the world than to become a delicious piece of toast. In your hunt for toastification, you must traverse areas of the home in search of a heat source, while trying to stay as delicious and edible as possible.
This premise is undoubtedly one of the most unusual game concepts ever created, and it presents an equally ridiculous world to accompany it. I Am Bread is part of a weird and fascinating new sub-genre we could refer to as comedy simulators. Like other recent comedy simulators such as Goat Simulator and Surgeon Simulator (a game also developed by Bossa Studios), I Am Bread’s challenge, and much of its comedy, comes from the physics-based world.
Unlike other examples in this genre however, I Am Bread’s physics are significantly more grounded in reality. A wise move, as it gives the game a much keener focus on objectives than many of those others, and so it is satisfying to have a somewhat familiar set of physical rules to work with. Nonetheless, the physics-based traversal and challenge is still absurd despite these more familiar rules.
Your intrepid piece of bread has the ability to inch forward, but more importantly it can grab surfaces with one of its four corners. This mechanic creates a movement system in which you have to manipulate the four corners of your bread to flick, spin, and throw yourself around the map. It’s an unusual system to comprehend at first, but with some experimentation and practice, methods for effective movement quickly become apparent.
The maps, each presenting a different area of a home, are free for you to traverse as you please, each presenting multiple paths with their own challenges and obstacles. Will you take the skateboard on the ground and skate to the kitchen counter? Or will you traverse the wall Mission Impossible-style?
This genre is not one that a story is typically expected from, which is why it is so impressive not only that I Am Bread presents one, but that the story is so well-conceived and executed. It primarily takes the form of a psychiatrist’s consultation form that you read before each new level, which tells the story of the owner of the house you are exploring, and how his natural neurosis are being exacerbated by finding his house destroyed each day with a single slice of toast amidst the chaos.
These forms offer the game a much-needed framework from which to regard the action, allowing you to enjoy the mechanics while also giving you a purpose for progressing. This sounds crazy considering that the game is titled I Am Bread, but the story is also somewhat thought-provoking too. It deals with ideas of mental illness; giving truth to concepts that we would typically think someone was mentally ill for considering. A text probably hasn’t been this over-read since your seventh form English class, but hey, there are totally some ideas to be extrapolated if you care to look.
It is clear from your first moments as bread that Bossa studios just wanted you to have a ridiculous and fun time. They totally succeeded as well; the experience is hilarious, and the concept and absurd physics coalesce to make every moment beautifully bizarre. On top of that, the addition of an interesting story makes the whole experience feel purposeful and rewarding. Bossa Studios have made the game that no one would have thought of, but that everybody should play.