Review: Baba is You (Switch)

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It was some time ago in 2019 that I had looked at one of Nintendo’s videos. I found the game I am reviewing today there, but I took my time to get around to downloading it. That game is Baba is You, a logic puzzle game where you form sentences to change the game logic. I’m the type of person that likes to use my head when playing games, so I finally got around to trying out this game last month. Now it is time to share my experiences in this review.

So, the main hook of Baba is You is that you can change the rules of the game to solve puzzles. You do this by pushing words around to form new sentences. For example, forming the sentence “Baba is You” means you control the white colored sheep character “Baba”. If you change that sentence to “Crab is You” you can start to control the crab character, who might be positioned better to reach the goal, but lose control of Baba.

BabaPuzzlePt1
Here is a sample puzzle from Baba is You
BabaPuzzlePt2
First break “Wall is Stop”.
BabaPuzzlePt3
Now the wall doesn’t limit your movement.
BabaPuzzlePt4
Then make “Flag is Win” to complete the level.

There are a lot of odd ways these sentences alter the levels you play in. Nothing that happens on screen occurs without a phrase telling you how the game works. “Wall is Stop” means you can’t move past a wall, “Water is Sink” means you lose if you hit the water, and “Key is open” means you can open a shut object using the key. Breaking the sentence can also lead to new solutions too, such as breaking “Wall is Stop” means you can move through walls.

This game also makes the smart move of keeping actions turn-based. The developers even included an undo button, which would have been harder to do if the puzzles were timing based. This gives you time to think, and to experiment with different phrase combinations without resetting the stage or initiating a death.

I also appreciate that you don’t have to complete every level to progress in the game. While I felt smart for completing levels, plus felt motivated to try all of them, I also hit quite a few stages where I was downright stumped. Since there are quite a few difficult stages, I liked that I could try them out of order, and didn’t need to play them all to reach the end. I even ignored the last stage (not knowing that it was the last stage) and explored the unique levels around it for a time.

BabaMap
Once you clear enough levels, you can complete the available levels in any order you like.

However, I felt really dumb whenever I hit a stage that was really tricky. I used a guide to finish a number of these later stages, and felt inadequately intelligent in the process. This was particularly true when these stages were more obvious in hindsight after finishing them. In some ways, I would have appreciated a hint system too. I do appreciate that this game is abstract enough to make a hint system difficult, but I lost some enjoyment due to these more difficult levels.

In all, Baba is You is a neat experiment in video game puzzle design. Being able to change the game world on the fly in a logical way can be neat, and this game is full of surprising solutions. Turning a damaging wall into a collection of harmless keys is very neat, and was a feast for the eyes too. There is a lot of challenge here too for logic puzzle enthusiasts, though the average gamer might get stumped all too easily. That being said, the sheer novelty of the game makes it worth a look for the more puzzle oriented player.

Recommendations:

  • Try to complete every level by yourself, as the results lead to good mind-blown feelings.
  • That being said, if you get stumped consult a guide or let’s play video, so that you aren’t stuck without any hope of progress.
  • Complete levels in whatever order you like, in case you do get stuck.
  • After reaching the credits, play some more to see what else the game offers, as there are plenty of extra levels to try, with great results.

Pros:

  • Unique puzzle based gameplay.
  • Minimal music doesn’t interfere with the thinking process.
  • Game has an undo button.
  • Finishing the game doesn’t require playing every level.

Cons:

  • Minimal graphics (debatable con, based on personal importance on graphical fidelity).
  • Some puzzles are way too tricky (this varies based on personal logic skills).

Verdict:

8.1/10 A great but sometimes frustrating puzzle game


That was my take on Baba is You. But what did you think? What was your favorite puzzle in this game? Did you use a guide to get through this game? If so, how often did you use one? Let me know all this and more in the comments below! If you liked this review, then click that like button. If you want to keep up with That’s All Games, you can subscribe via email or through WordPress. Be sure to share this article on social media too. Until next time, have fun gaming!

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