VG Tribune

Review: Baba Is You

March 13, 2019 / 11:00 AM

By: Matthew Gibson

Copy of the game for the Nintendo Switch provided by Arvi Teikari, the developer of the game. The title is also available for Steam, Windows, Mac, and Linux.

In recent years, Nintendo has been keen on supporting various indie titles, with their ‘Nindie’ highlight videos being one of their main methods of promoting these smaller titles. There have been many of these games that caught my eyes, such as Wargroove and Untitled Goose GameBaba Is You was announced for a Switch release last Summer, and after a play session at last year’s EGX, I was stoked to play the full game when it launched. After having played it for a fair chunk of time, I can safely say that the wait has been worth it.

This charming puzzler has you bending the rules of each level in order to reach the solution. By rearranging the position of blocks containing words, you’re able to change properties of the objects onscreen, such as walls, rocks, or even yourself. This central idea is wonderfully introduced in the very first level of the game, as pictured above, but as you progress you are presented with new elements, leading to a lot of different scenarios. You traverse through different areas, where the levels in each only get tougher as you start to familiarise with what was previously shown off. It was exciting seeing what new thing pops up, which more often than not put a little smile on my face as I saw what the new blocks were capable of.

The levels are well crafted too, with nothing seeming like it’s not supposed to be there. Baba Is You has over 200 puzzles, and in my 20-hour playthrough, I’m sitting at just under 100 solved. Those with a keen mind are sure to be occupied, and I’m looking forward to going back and retrying some of my uncompleted levels. One of my favourite parts of the game is when revamped versions of levels are unlocked. Here, it was amazing to see that a relatively small change to the problem would cause a much more difficult answer. Most of the solutions have a greatly satisfying feeling to them too, even after ones that took ages to figure out. That being said, however, I do wish there was some sort of hint system, especially as a certain amount of levels need to be cleared before clearing an area. It’s a tad annoying when I can be so close to completing a level but there may be just one little thing that I missed without my knowledge. Although, I imagine this ideology may vary from player to player, and could potentially ruin the magic of the puzzles.

In the chance you falter and make a mistake, such as pushing a block into a gap where you can’t retrieve it, there is a handy undo button, that allows you to reverse your actions as many times as you like. In addition, you’re able to quickly restart the level too, with a prompt just in case you don’t mean to restart. These little actions really benefited my playing time, and are a much welcome feature. The only downside in terms of controls is that A and B are the same, which more often than not lead me to accidentally confirm something on a menu, instead of going back from the menu (which is what I use B for on instinct), although this is a relatively minor complaint.

In terms of presentation and soundtrack, there’s some sort of minimalistic vibe going on, which I think compliments the brain-tickling gameplay of Baba Is You. The music fits the theme of each area and is never too much to distract from your focus. The simple nature is also seen in the game’s visuals, which has a lovely appeal to it. I was a fan of the jitteriness in the animations, which made everything feel more organic in a way. The blocks are clear enough too, with the different ‘types’ of words being coloured and highlighted differently to separate them. In a small way, it was nice seeing the phrases light up as well!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Baba Is You is a delightfully challenging puzzler that truly fleshes out its core mechanic; something that I believe to be an essential component for a game in the genre. In spite of feeling like some levels may be a bit too complex for me, it was always fun seeing what new ideas and challenges were introduced next. If you consider yourself a fan of puzzle games, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not picking Baba Is You.

Baba Is You

0.00
8.5

Final Thoughts

8.5/10

Pros

  • Presents a unique challenge
  • Never gets dull
  • Has a nice aesthetic to it

Cons

  • Lack of hints may be troublesome for some players

About the author /


Like many other game writers, Matthew was brought into the gaming world from a young age. He aspires to be a games journalist in the future. Oh, and he's from the UK, so there's that. He also does Nintendo Podcast System, just in case there isn't enough Nintendo on this site.

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