Most puzzle games make good use of the rules in their levels and force players to stick to them. However in Baba is You, a new game by indie developer Arvi Teikari, players actually solve puzzles by creatively bending the rules.
Every level contains some movable rule blocks, like “Flag is Win” or “Wall is Stop”, each representing certain aspects of the level’s environment.
As Baba, a crudely-depicted goat-rabbit, players can move the position of the rule blocks to manipulate the environment in their favour to complete the level. They can walk through walls by removing the “Stop” in “Wall is Stop”, or turn the walls into a win condition by assembling the rule “Wall is Win”.
The game has more than 200 levels, each using simple rules in unexpected ways. They force the player to think outside the box and there may be many solutions to any one level.
As the game progresses, it adds new elements or rules players need to think about when completing a level, effectively yet gradually increasing its difficulty.
The level design can range from extremely challenging to uniquely charming. One notable level features rule blocks which are placed together to form a take on the classic Roses are Red poem, and the solution is sure to leave a smile on your face.
In addition to the well-designed game mechanics, thought has also been given to optimise the player experience. Most notably, there is an “undo” button to reverse actions if you have pushed yourself into a dead end, so players won’t need to restart a level every time they make a wrong move.
The non-linear progression also means players won’t have to complete all of the levels in a rigid order before challenging the bonus levels unlocked in each new area of the game.
With its simple but innovative gameplay, quirky 8-bit visual style, and many challenging levels, Baba is You is a great value for its HK$76 price tag. Pick it up if you want to brush up on your logic skills while having a fun and rewarding time.