== lostluck.dev ==

Baba Is You

distractions games puzzles

Baba Is You is a delightfully constructed puzzle game from 2017. I like it.

It features a simple but powerful mechanic of putting together rules that modify gameplay.

At it’s core you need to get yourself to the goal. You can change the rules to make this possible.

The visuals are simple pixel graphics, of tiles on a grid. You push the tiles around to form rules, which take effect immeadiately. Rules are ony valid left to right or top to bottom. If rules contradict each other, the first rule is kept, and the unused rule is crossed out.

The rules, at their simplest, are structured NOUN OP VERB.

NOUNs are colour coded word tiles, with a matching icon out in the game. baba is paired with a white sheep like icon. tree with a green pine tree icon. And so on.

OPs are joining words in white text, like is or and or has. They associate NOUNs and VERBs with each other, or with themselves. There’s even a not.

VERBs are black text on coloured backgrounds. They’re like push, pull, stop, and more. Each verb imbues one property to associated nouns.

You use the rules to help you move icons and word tiles around so you can win.

The you verb defines which nounds are under direct player control, and you need to get one of those icons to the same space as an icon ruled as win. Do that and you win the level.

By default, only text can be pushed around by whatever is you. All other icons are background dressing, unless a rule attaches to their NOUN. All the active rules are on the level grid you’re on, and also summarized on the pause menu.

Each area gently introduces you to one or two new concepts at a time, with a few variation on the theme. The selection of nouns change up at each to keep the visuals fresh throughout the dozens of levels.

I appreciate that Baba Is You repeatedly makes you re-assess your assumptions about how rules work and interact. There’s no time limit for any levels, so you can solve and try things at your own pace. You can always restart the level, and undo all moves back to the start state, which is much appreciated.

My only complaint is that there’s a bit of a wall between the introductory levels of an area and anything that’s extra, which is a little jarring. This isn’t much of a problem since you can progress through areas non-linearly, leaving challenges to be solved later. Like many puzzle games, the “AHA!” moments when you solve them are satisfying, because of how clever you feel.

These simple properties provide a wide range of puzzle possibilities and the breadth of verbs and ops keep the game interesting. I’ve been playing together with friends, by streaming it over Discord. They can suggest solutions, but only if they’ve figured it out while watching. There’s no point if they’re just relating someone elses solutions. If I wanted that, I’d look them up myself.

Once I get to the point of being totally stuck, I may in watch a speed run to learn the best tricks.