META IS GAME. WINNER IS YOU.
March 19, 2019 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Baba Is You: The Rules Are the Game [Polygon] “Each stage is a small 2D space containing a variety of objects and characters, along with corresponding words that describe the rules of the puzzle. To solve each puzzle, I must change the preset rules of the stage by rearranging the words to create new rules altogether. In the first stage, we see a white rabbit — the baba — and a yellow flag. They are separated by three rocks and sandwiched between two stone walls. Also on the stage are its rules: Baba Is You, Flag Is Win, Wall Is Stop, Rock Is Push. Since “Baba Is You,” I can control the bunny. Since Rock Is Push, the bunny can push aside the rocks. And since the Flag Is Win, I can touch the flag to complete the stage. Or I can modify the rules written on the stage to complete the puzzle another way entirely.” [YouTube][Game Trailer]

• A Puzzle Game Where You Rewrite The Rules Of Each Level [Kotaku]
“Even when it’s hard, Baba Is You is delightful. The simple art and chirpy soundtrack help to offset frustration, as does the ability to skip certain puzzles in a cluster if you’re really stuck. While playing, I find myself both swearing and smiling. I’m charmed by the game, even when I rage against the devilish placement of words that make a level that seems breezy into a maddening brainteaser. Similar to coding-based games like The Magic Circle [YouTube][Game Trailer]and Human Resource Machine [YouTube][Game Trailer], changing a level’s rules is a powerful feeling. Puzzling through code logic is a lovely insight into what’s going on under the hood of video games.”
posted by Fizz (53 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is such a great game - my favorite puzzler since The Witness. It has that great quality where I look at a new level and say "what the fuck this is literally impossible" and then a little later get to say "oh, of course!"
posted by Ragged Richard at 10:32 AM on March 19 [5 favorites]


In the first stage, we see a white rabbit — the baba — and a yellow flag.

Dear every game critic on the Internet, apparently:

The Baba is sheep, not a rabbit. It's right there in the name.

Idiots.

Love,
People Who Know What a Fluffy White Thing That Goes "Baa Baa" is.
posted by The Bellman at 10:35 AM on March 19 [24 favorites]


Baba is ewe
posted by mbrubeck at 10:48 AM on March 19 [65 favorites]


Very glad I’m not the only person confused to the point of annoyance by everyone calling it a rabbit.

Also this literally might be the game that makes me buy a switch?
posted by thecaddy at 10:51 AM on March 19


I'm going to have to Kobayashi Maru this thing.
posted by SonInLawOfSam at 10:55 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


That's the point. Baba is Kobayashi Maru.
posted by The Bellman at 10:56 AM on March 19 [8 favorites]


Oh yeah, I should get back to this. Played it for six hours, had fun, unlocked all but a couple of the visible worlds on the first island, got distracted by packing and planning for a move.

It's pretty good.
posted by egypturnash at 11:04 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I'm curious, how long is the game? I saw it recently on the Switch store and was intrigued, but worried it'd be like 4 or 5 hours and I'm done.
posted by tocts at 11:09 AM on March 19


My wife & I have been playing this in little bits here & there, it's super fun to play together but also good to pick up and put down because it can get frustrating trying to figure out how things interact.
posted by zempf at 11:12 AM on March 19


I'm curious, how long is the game?

From the Kotaku article:
“I’ve played about five hours of Baba Is You and have unlocked three of its worlds. The map suggests there are at least 13, including one locked behind a gate that requires flowers to open, earned from completing puzzles. Though I’ve been playing on PC, I’m already planning to restart the game on Switch, so I can take the game with me and solve a few of its puzzles whenever I suddenly realize a solution. The game claims to have “over 200 puzzles,” so I have a long road ahead of me and a lot of mysteries left to uncover.”
posted by Fizz at 11:20 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Baba Is You is one of those games that absolutely proves that conscious thought is just the thinnest crust over the ever-shifting mantle of the operating mind, because I have repeatedly put my Switch down in frustration, come back to it the next day, and immediately seen the solution to the puzzle at hand.

Also Baba is Cute.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:27 AM on March 19 [14 favorites]


I'm curious, how long is the game? I saw it recently on the Switch store and was intrigued, but worried it'd be like 4 or 5 hours and I'm done.
According to my save file, I've got 31 hours played and 141 levels cleared so far. This game has plenty of depth, and some really good secrets.
posted by NMcCoy at 11:47 AM on March 19 [5 favorites]


Aw, nuts. I was dithering about whether to snap this up immediately, but... this sounds wonderful.
posted by asperity at 11:48 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Damn. I had vowed to not buy another Switch game until I hit 100% on Hollow Knight (91% and climbing.... slowly) but I don't think I can resist this, I've been watching previews of Baba Is You for what feels like forever. I too had assumed they would maybe get 4 or 5 hours out of it; hearing that it's hundreds of levels is just waaaaaay too tempting.
posted by range at 12:01 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


I've got about 32 hours in. (Steam says 40, but I accidentally left it running while I slept one night.) I reached an ending a while back -- after you beat a certain number of levels, you unlock a final victory level that shows you an ending cutscene and the credits when you beat it. But you don't have to even beat every level in the game to unlock it. You don't even have to beat all the normal levels in the normal worlds, let alone the harder "extra" levels or the bonus worlds that you unlock with secret tricks.

In short, it doesn't take all that long to "win", but it's going to take a lot longer to get 100% completion.
posted by baf at 12:02 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]




do do do dododo do
posted by solarion at 1:16 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


I'm going to have to Kobayashi Maru this thing.

Kobayashi Mar-is-U.

Opening screen: Kirk is You, Klingon is Kill, Phasers is Broke. Switch the last two to proceed.
posted by frogstar42 at 1:45 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


How is Baba formed?
posted by darkstar at 1:48 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


It's invaded my dreams which is a sign of powerfulness. It's also pleasingly light despite the deviousness. At least in the puzzles I have seen so far, I've never felt like, "Aha, I see the solution, but now I need to reset and execute all those button presses sadklfhsadklfahsd."

Eliminating the impossible is a fun process because it can be hard to convince myself that something really is impossible. What if I can change the wall?? What if text can be me???

Also, I love when a plan fails because I forgot about FLOAT.
posted by fleacircus at 1:56 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


now I need to reset and execute all those button presses

Allowing you to freely undo single moves as many times as you like is one reason that Baba Is You has not been consigned to the special ring of hell I reserve for most Sokoban-like games.
posted by murphy slaw at 2:02 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


One recent level I played seemed absolutely impossible until you started desperately messing around and found an object interaction you wouldn't expect, and as frustrating as that was, I kind of love how some rules don't reveal themselves until you experiment.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:04 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Ok I just bought it and playing it is my reward for finishing my paper.

So now I have to finish my paper.
posted by greermahoney at 3:15 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


Thanks for the post, Fizz! This game sounded so very much up my alley that I bought it as soon as I got home, and yesssss it is. \o/
posted by theatro at 3:56 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Nice. I played the Jam build on itch.io a couple of years ago, and noticed it on the Switch store today, so I'm intrigued. The sheer number of levels they've managed to build around the concept seems amazing.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 4:53 PM on March 19


I don't play games, but I love the idea of this. Embarassing question, but what's the easiest way to get this on my Mac? Can I just purchase and download it directly somewhere without installing Steam? (I don't really understand what Steam is.)
posted by neroli at 4:57 PM on March 19


Looks like you can get it on the Humble store DRM-free? (Steam is an App Store for games.)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:12 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I don't play games, but I love the idea of this. Embarassing question, but what's the easiest way to get this on my Mac? Can I just purchase and download it directly somewhere without installing Steam? (I don't really understand what Steam is.)

If you buy Baba Is You from itch.io, you can download it as an ordinary .dmg file just like any ordinary piece of Mac software. (Also, the developer gets a larger share of the revenue!) Steam is convenient for people who play a lot of computer games, but you don't need to bother with it just for this.
posted by skymt at 5:12 PM on March 19 [7 favorites]


Gah, this is brilliant and a little infuriating but mostly brilliant. Basically every level after the first half-dozen or so goes through the narrative arc of:

1. Oh, huh, I think I got this.
2. Nope, that didn't work. Huh. What I'm I supposed to...?
3. Nope. This is impossible.
4. Try a few levels through step 3, come back.
5. OH! Yeah, that makes sense.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:55 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Thanks. Totally hooked. Not sleeping ever again.
posted by neroli at 8:24 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


I'm enjoying playing with my spouse. I think it's more fun together because we can swap turns as we get inspired or befuddled. I think we've solved as many by wondering what would happen if we make some sentence than by knowing in advance. I love that curiosity and experimentation is so rewarded.
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:22 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


So now I have to finish my paper.

Paper
Is
Finished

posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:08 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


I think my favorite mechanism of the game is the TEXT text. TEXT IS YOU is fun, but like KEKE HAS TEXT then TEXT HAS KEKE is extremely funny to me.
posted by fleacircus at 4:46 AM on March 20


I also bought it last night on this recommendation and spouse and I joint-played through the first few dozen levels, hooray!

Baba is Moo
posted by little cow make small moo at 5:57 AM on March 20


The game actually highlights type checker errors, I discovered when I made "BABA IS BABA" and "BABA is ROCK".
posted by joeyh at 6:44 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Paper
Is
Finished


It is!! It is!! I’m about to pop this open on my commute.
posted by greermahoney at 8:02 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


I'm enjoying this a lot
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:38 AM on March 20


This game is an absolute delight! I've been trying to get basically everyone I know who plays games to buy it. It's really well designed, and just so rewarding when you finally figure out something you've been stuck on.

There's also this thing they do with the puzzle design in a lot of the later worlds where you finish a puzzle, then the next one is the same puzzle, but with whatever trick I used last time broken. For puzzles with multiple possible solutions, they've done an amazingly good job of predicting which route I'll take first.

I think it's also the first puzzle game I can think of that's made me laugh out loud with the puzzles themselves, rather than some kind of surrounding story. Some of the solutions are just so absurd, like making a river float so you can run underneath it. It has me swinging wildly between frustration, absurdity, and the occasional feeling of being an absolute genius when I solve something I've been stuck on with some bizarre trick.
posted by duien at 11:27 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


I watched a YouTube video playthrough for a couple of levels (I am not very good at actually playing puzzle games) and I'm kind of delighted by the low-key, cheerful body horror underlying the whole thing. You can send your consciousness into a rock while your physical form sits inertly! Or create dozens of mindless copies of yourself! Or leave yourself trapped, sentient but without any way of physically interacting with the world inside the game! It's great.
posted by eponym at 4:45 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


There's also this thing they do with the puzzle design in a lot of the later worlds where you finish a puzzle, then the next one is the same puzzle, but with whatever trick I used last time broken. For puzzles with multiple possible solutions, they've done an amazingly good job of predicting which route I'll take first.

One thing I noticed with this is when you do a side-to-side comparison of such levels there's often a slight change in the walls or barriers that would've made the easy solution impossible in the first one.
posted by solarion at 7:10 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Thank you for introducing me to this game, which is entirely my thing! It has so much quality of life—
I love the undo button!
I love that you can push more than one item in a stack! (Unlike NetHack's Sokoban)
I love that you can turn the jitter off and the gridlines on!
(I don't love that the levels take about four seconds to load because that is too! long! to wait!)

Also, I wonder if Baba and Keke are named after Bouba and Kiki.
posted by What is E. T. short for? at 10:57 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


You can cancel the loading screen pause, at least on my copy of the game.

I'm kind of delighted by the low-key, cheerful body horror underlying the whole thing.

I really like how the music cuts out when you enter a losing state.
posted by fleacircus at 11:41 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Am I missing something on the switch? Is there a way to abandon a level other than closing and restarting the software? Restarting a level is easy, but if I want to take a break on one and try another..?
posted by greermahoney at 9:05 PM on March 21


Plus button, return to map. That screen also has an extremely convenient list of active rules!
posted by asperity at 6:08 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]


Ohhh! Thank you! Could have sworn I had hit every button looking for it!
posted by greermahoney at 7:49 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


I am delighted how deep the rabbit hole of secrets goes in this game. Every time you end up saying "wait, I just did what?", you can trust that the game will require that sort of thing several more times from you in the future.

(My current save file is [ 🏴 47:41⏱ 195🌼 11🌸 (+1) ] and my most recent level clears have taken me 15-30 minutes of befuddlement each, in case anyone had any concerns about this game being too short.)
posted by NMcCoy at 9:47 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Mild spoiler, not related to a solution, but a great little detail I stumbled upon:

I got to some levels with a "level" block, which affects the level as a whole. I managed to form the phrase "Level is Key" which immediately ended the level and kicked me back to the map, where I could see that the level number had been replaced with the image of a key. It seems to be permanent.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:44 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


baba is cellular automata, including proof of turning completeness
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:22 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


$#@!ing Skull House
posted by fleacircus at 10:52 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


I would have made this post, but Baba Is You has been on the Blue before. That was just the prototype version though.
posted by JHarris at 12:32 PM on March 31




Ah, like one day left in the thread and I've gotten permission from Gamasutra to do an email interview with Hempuli, the creator of Baba Is You, and they've replied to my request and agreed, too! It's time to come up with some really good questions....
posted by JHarris at 9:34 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


I'd ask about more levels if I wasn't stuck so much 🤓
posted by Marticus at 4:31 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


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