Time travel is awesome, a fact that Marty McFly and Doctor Who would gladly attest to. Who wouldn’t want to play with the fabric of time? Even better, who wouldn’t want to soar through the decades while enjoying a tasty pie? It’s this bizarre combination that lays the groundwork for The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, a new XBLA platformer with a very peculiar main character.
Instead of using his powers to earn millions or save the world, P.B Winterbottom mainly focuses his time traveling abilities on solving puzzles. P.B. leaves a shadow behind when he tinkers with time, which can be used to activate switches or buttons while the other P.B collects all of the available pies. Sounds simple, right? Well, it gets more complex when the shadow needs to collect the pies, or when multiple shadows need to be running around at the same time.
While the puzzles never get too taxing, the platforming mechanics lead to far more frustration. There are moments when P.B must launch a shadow into the air or make it to his last pie as the countdown clock nears its final second, all of which are hindered by slightly unresponsive controls that make it difficult to land precise jumps. The other major problem with Winterbottom is repetition, as many of its ideas were lifted directly from Braid. A little originality would have made a big difference here, as I found myself constantly comparing this to its older, superior inspiration. At least Winterbottom does posses a little charm of its own, as the black and white visuals add heaps of personality to P.B.’s quest.
Despite all of that, Winterbottom still manages to be fun thanks to the interesting use of time travel and solid puzzle design. Just proceed with caution, especially if you’re quick to anger and like to keep your controllers in one piece.