I've come to expect a certain quirkiness to Bossa Studios titles, especially after performing heart surgery in the back of a moving ambulance and chucking organs out the wildly swinging back doors like disposable objects in Surgeon Simulator. I am Bread however, has you take control of a sentient slice of bread with the single goal of becoming the best tasting toast possible. Of course, it wouldn't be a Bossa title if it was a simple task as you'll have to navigate across various locales to accomplish your goal in life.
The first level makes the most sense, which is saying a lot in a game of this caliber.A loaf of bread is left out on the kitchen table as the camera pans across the room, revealing the heat waves emanating from the toaster left in the "on" position. Although the toaster appears to be your clear goal, each level has multiple objects that can be used to make toast, with some harder to reach than others. Who needs a toaster when an oven, hair straightener, lawn mower and even a broken TV can crisp each side of the bread just as easily? Thinking outside of the box certainly helps in I am Bread.
Controlling a slice of bread, as proven by my fruitless first attempt, is no easy task. Although the game is currently only available on PC, you'll want to use a controller and avoid playing the game with mouse and keyboard at all costs. While the left analog stick inches your way across surfaces, the use of all four shoulder buttons acting as corners of the bread makes the controls unique. Using both sets of shoulder buttons simultaneously may feel awkward, but remember you are in control of a delicate, yet nimble, slice of bread and not a sports car. Holding any of four shoulder buttons creates an anchor point and allowing you to rotate, turn, flip and loaf around the levels (that is the one and only bread related pun in this review, I promise).
Immediately after falling off the loaf of bread (you do this to start every level), I flopped around, shattering a glass, getting loose bits of cereal stuck to both my sides before I accidently inched my way through a line of hungry ants. Talk about a great start. Not only can you move across flat surfaces, but you can stick to any and all surfaces, allowing you to awkwardly climb up walls, refrigerators and anything attempting to stop you from fulfilling your goal of becoming toast. Something about seeing a slice of bread climbing up surfaces in a house seems straight out of a Wes Craven movie. There are two different meters that require your attention: cleanliness and grip. Cleanliness acts as a health meter since no one wants to consume a disgusting slice of bread covered in who knows what. The grip meter slowly depletes as your stick to surfaces, so taking your time to climb up a wall can lead to a disaster if you take too long.
Near the start of each level you'll usually find a stick of butter or some conveniently placed jam/jelly. Not only will your score improve if you butter yourself up before hopping in the toaster, but the smooth butter will actually help you traverse across surfaces easier. Jam can be a lifesaver in a pinch, allowing you to instantly stick to surfaces even if the grip meter is depleted. On the downside, you'll have a harder time climbing up walls and trying to spin around. There are countless other foods that will affect your mobility, but I'll leave that up to you to discover. A word of advice: no one likes bread riddled with fish bones or egg shells.
Breaking glasses and other objects are the least of your worries as there are quite the numerous amount of dangerous objects set in your path. After making a mess of the breakfast table, I flung myself off the table, landing conveniently on a skateboard, narrowly avoiding a floor that hasn't been cleaned in ages. At this point, the bread no longer looks like delicious carbs ready to increase my pant size, but instead is covered in everything I've come in contact with so far.
Unlike Surgeon Simulator, which really didn't have any mechanic to help those who couldn't get past the more difficult levels, I am Bread conveniently spawns Magic Marmalade, giving you invincibility for the entire level. Failing means the slice of bread has become inedible due to numerous possibilities, not limited to landing behind a piece of furniture, the nearby carpet with muddy footprints, or even a sink full of water. While the carpet that the family dog loves to sleep on may pose a problem, the later levels which take you throughout the house and beyond are riddled with areas that a slice of bread has no meaning to be. While you won't get a good letter grade (the scoring system) for using the item, you will at least bypass the level to move on to the next one. The levels themselves can be frustrating, especially without checkpoints, so it is quite possible to waste 30 minutes making a single mistake or have a game bug stop you have completing the level.
Similar to the janky physics in the last title that Bossa developed, I am Bread suffers from the occasional situational bug. Carefully positioning yourself on a bookshelf only to have the slice of bread fall through it (or get stuck) forces you to start the level over.
Outside of the story mode, Bossa included five additional game modes, including free roam through the levels, hunting for cheese as a cracker, causing maximum destruction as a baguette, completing levels without gravity, and racing around set courses as a bagel. Levels in all of the additional modes become unlocked once beaten in the story mode.
With everything being said I am Bread is still an entertaining romp. Although I've had to restart levels a couple of times, I enjoyed taking a slice of bread on a journey of fulfilling its life goal of being toast (and destroying the man's house in the process).
Note: The I am Bread review is based on a digital PC copy of the game, provided for review purposes.