About Baba Is You
Baba Is You - And Good
Break and change the rules to solve puzzles.
Baba is What?
Baba is You is a 2D, logic indie puzzle game by Finnish developer Arvi Teikari. It was originally made for and won the 2017 Nordic Game Jam, and has won several more awards since then. Baba Is You has 200 puzzles, and was made using Multimedia Fusion 2. It was released in March 2019, and is available on PC and Nintendo Switch.
Rules is Game
In Baba Is You, rules are made to be broken. While most games contain rules for the sake of containing gameplay, Baba Is You uses its rules as gameplay. In most levels, you begin as Baba -- a white entity of unknown species. (Most consider Baba to be a sheep or a bunny.) To complete puzzles, you push around objects as well as word blocks that dictate each level’s rules. By rearranging or breaking these sentences, you can change the win/loss conditions. In fact, some puzzles are solved by reworking “Baba is You” to be something like “Flag is You”, having you move around the map as the flag, leaving the Baba you were just moments ago immobile.
Baba Is You is a refreshing take on the puzzle game genre. The programmed code of a game has always sat behind the screen, never to be read by the players. Now, Baba Is You invites you into a space where rewriting the game’s program (in simple and cute pixels) is part of the experience, and is also the key (or flag, or rock, or wall) to the solution.
Concept Rating: 5/5
Rose is Red
Part of Baba is You’s charm is its simple pixelated style with words that look as if a child wrote them. Especially when an adorable sheep-bunny-thing is at the heart of it all. If Baba is You used a more realistic graphics, it would be a distraction from what the game is all about. In the same vein, the game thrives in 2D. Where great puzzle games like The Witness draw from the complexities that 3D space can offer, Baba poses enough of a challenge in two dimensions.
Teikari wrote all the music himself, which shows. There’s little variation when it comes to music in the game, causing it to become repetitive. Players may choose to mute the music entirely as they play -- “play” often meaning staring at the screen in deep thought. For the most part, the audio does little to heighten the player’s experience with the game.
One exception is when the player puts the game in a position where further play is impossible. For example, sinking Baba or breaking the sentence “Baba is You”, causing the game to freeze. (You can’t play if you’re not Baba or something else, after all.) In these instances, the music cuts to silence, letting you sit with what you’ve done. “Undo”ing the last action causes the music to pick back up again, letting you resume as if nothing happened.
Graphics & Audio Rating: 4/5
Rock is Push
Baba Is You’s visuals are incredibly deceptive in their simplicity -- this is not a simple game. Thinking outside the box is at the core of this game, as it challenges you to question your assumptions of what it takes to win each level.
There’s no tutorial to the game, but new mechanics are introduced with the right amount of subtlety. Players experiment with new words and scenarios, discovering new possibilities through trial and error. You won’t find any hand holding here, and rightfully so.
Luckily, any mistakes that occur can be easily undone. With the press of a button, Baba Is You allows you to undo your last move, and the one before that, and the one before that - as far back as you want. There’s also a “restart” button if you want to try again from square one.
It’s not uncommon to feel stuck in new levels. For the most part, though, Baba’s difficulty doesn’t feel oppositional. More often than not, returning to the puzzle after a short break will let you see the solution, and the “aha” moments that playing Baba results in is enough of a motivator to keep trying.
Gameplay Rating: 4/5
Baba is Win
Baba Is You is the perfect mix of simple graphics, simple gameplay, challenging logic puzzles, and outside-the-box thinking. With 200 levels and multiple ways to solve them, players can delve as deep as they want. Players are free to explore new areas without solving all previous levels first, and can also complete extra difficult side levels for an extra challenge.
Replayability Rating: 4/5
Baba Is You is a charming, unique puzzle game where levels are solved by changing the rules of the game.