Baba Is You
|Baba is You|
|Engine||Multimedia Fusion 2|
|Release||13 March 2019|
The game centres around the manipulation of "rules"—represented by tiles with words written on them—in order to allow the titular character Baba (or some other object) to reach a specified goal.
The player, usually, controls a character known as Baba, but it may be different in some levels. Each level contains various movable word tiles, corresponding to specific types of objects and obstacles on the field (such as Baba itself, the goal flag, walls and environmental hazards, and other creatures), linking operators such as "is" and "and", and verb tiles reflecting the properties of these objects (such as "you", which makes the object become controlled by the player, "push" to make them movable, "stop" to make them impassable, "win" to specify the goal, "sink" to make items drown in it, and so on). The object of each level is for the player to reach the goal by manipulating these tiles to create or modify "rules" by which they behave. For example, the goal can be changed by moving "is" and "win" blocks to another object, and the player can travel through objects by removing the "stop" trait from them. Levels can force specific rules by placing their blocks in a corner, so they cannot be moved. The game contains over 200 levels.
Development and release
The theme of the 2017 Nordic Game Jam was "Not There", which prompted Teikari (a student at the University of Helsinki who had previously developed the Metroidvania-genre game Environmental Station Alpha) to envision a game concept based on manipulating logic operators. He explained that levels were often created by brainstorming a "cool" or "amusing" solution, and then coming up with how the player would accomplish it. Teikari noted that "the most satisfying moments in puzzle games are those which present the player with simple but hard-to-wrap-your-head-around situations, so that solving the puzzle is about figuring out that one neat trick/twist." As with his previous projects, the game was developed using Multimedia Fusion 2, and a Lua scripting plugin; Teikari credited his friend Lukas Meller for help with the Lua implementations.
Teikari stated in 2017 that he planned to release the full game in 2018, and placed a development version of the title for download at itch.io. After Baba Is You won at the Independent Games Festival in March 2018, a clone of the game was released by a French publisher on the App Store, using nearly the same graphics and calling itself the same name. Teikari worked with the French division of Apple to remove the offending app.
The game, and a Nintendo Switch release, were focused upon in a Nintendo indie games showcase presentation on 31 August 2018. Baba is You was released on 13 March 2019, via Steam for Windows, Linux, and macOS, and on Switch.
Baba is You won first place at the 2017 Nordic Game Jam. It was nominated for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize and won awards for "Best Student Game" and "Excellence In Design" at the 2018 IGF Awards.
On release, the game received positive reviews. Polygon considered it "one of the best puzzle video games in years", with the reviewer observing that it "asks me to toss my assumptions about how rules in video games work, to analyze how and why they exist in the first place. And that sort of reprogramming of my brain, oddly enough, happens best when the game is turned off." Pocket Gamer was similarly positive, describing it as a "ridiculously complex puzzler that has you questioning not only every decision you make, but how anyone managed to think up something so bizarre", and concluding that it was one of the "most inventive, exciting puzzle games you will ever play. It's beautifully simple in its graphics and its core design, but it'll make your brain hurt with how nonsensical the solutions appear to be,"
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- Cowley, Ric. "Baba is You Switch review - "Puzzling perfection in every way"". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
- Couture, Joel. "Road to the IGF: Hempuli Oy's Baba Is You". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 2018-03-08. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
- Wawro, Alex (2018-04-04). "IGF Award-winning Baba Is You cloned before it was even released". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 2019-04-21. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
- Fogel, Stefanie; Fogel, Stefanie (2018-08-28). "Nintendo Holds Nindies Showcase Summer 2018". Variety. Archived from the original on 2018-08-29. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
- MacLoed, Riley (2019-03-13). "A Puzzle Game Where You Rewrite The Rules Of Each Level". Kotaku. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
- Donnelly, Joe (2018-03-22). "Night in the Woods tops IGF Awards, student game Baba Is You wins big". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 2019-03-03. Retrieved 2019-03-14.