Baba Is You is a new puzzle game out for PC and the Nintendo Switch. It’s getting a lot of coverage and I want to express my love for it When I think of how to describe Baba Is You many words come to mind...it’s a deceptively simple, minimalist, brain-melting, language-centered puzzle game. It’s hard to even describe how the game works, and just diving into it without knowing much makes the experience even more incredible. It is truly unique and the mechanics in the game are brilliantly creative.
The puzzles are presented as separate levels on a world map, stylized after world maps of the platforming 8/16 bit era. I haven’t gotten far enough into the game to see if it’s anything more than just familiar decoration but it’s a nice artistic touch. As you select each level it is simply a one screen puzzle (again, at least as far as I’ve seen). You are Baba, or another character, or something else, and you must change the rules of the level you see in front of you in order to defeat it.
The rules of each level are literally written on screen - for example the titular “Baba Is You” could be one rule located in the middle of the map. But what if you moved “Baba” out of the way and replaced it with “Rock” well, guess what? You’re a rock now. The game very quickly nosedives into depths you never would have imagined after playing the first couple of levels. You’ll soon be presented with levels that appear to, quite literally, have absolutely nothing to accomplish in them. You’ll move around and wonder what is even supposed to be happening? Am I missing an item? Is there something hidden somewhere? The answer is no - you just haven’t figured out the puzzle yet. All the answers are right in front of you. Then you’ll beat that level, smile at your newfound genius only to be made into a dumbfounded child presented with a magic trick just a few levels later.
The design of Baba Is You can’t really be overstated. Similar to last year’s Into the Breach there’s a smoothness, a flow, a mindboggling depth of game design genius that can’t be captured with words. Like Chess, it just works....perfectly. Even when you think that maybe there is a design flaw, there isn’t, you just haven’t quite figured out all the mechanics yet. I continuously found myself bewildered by the difference between “Shut” and “Stop” until it just clicked in my brain. Playing Baba Is You is like learning a new kind of math. The framework is proven, the rules are a part of nature, it’s just you were ignorant of them before.
If you like puzzle games Baba Is You is an absolute must buy. I love puzzle games and it’s already one of my favorites of all time and I’m not even close to the end. I’m excited to keep playing it and, hopefully, solve every puzzle without the help of the internet. I’m not rushing though, which isn’t possible anyway, and I take frequent breaks so that my melted brain tissue can reform into something useful again.