Baba is You is very clever. Extremely clever.
You, on the other hand, are probably not. And this game will make you realise that.
More than two years after release, the game has now been updated with a very significant addition: a level editor. As such, now is the perfect time to review not only the game, but the recent update too.
PLAYER IS STUPID
The underlying concept of Baba is You is surprisingly simple at heart. The game rules are not only on display, but can be altered to make new ones. We all know that walls stop you in a videogame, but what if you could break that coding? Now you can walk through walls! And what would happen if you replaced the BABA in the coding ‘BABA IS YOU’ with the WALL text? You become the wall, of course! Rewriting the rules is the heart of the game and there really are no limits to what you can do. Of course, the phrase needs to make sense and some words are in unreachable places, but otherwise you are free to manipulate the level however you want in order to create some kind of win condition.
Of course, despite things starting simple, the game gets a lot harder as more phrases get introduced. HAS will contain something else inside that will be released upon the objects destruction: form BABA HAS BABA, and death will simply spawn another Baba in your place – effectively making you invulnerable. The game is constantly expanding upon the rules, starting simple and then getting mind-bendingly difficult in the later game.
BABA HAS EXTRA
Thankfully you only need to beat the first three worlds in order to see the normal ending, and those puzzles are challenging enough to be rewarding without being too difficult to solve. Some of the levels may prove frustrating, but as you don’t need to beat every stage in order to complete the world, you can easily skip any that are doing your head in. The ‘final’ level is comparatively a bit of a difficulty spike compared to the rest, but it also feels great when it finally clicks into place.
Whilst it may not take you too long to see the credits, there’s a lot to do afterwards. In the main game there are eleven total worlds, and the postgame is where you will see some of the more interesting and challenging functions. These can be so difficult at times that it can get a little off-putting as you fail time and time again. Even these moments are a small drop in the ocean of Baba’slogic puzzles, as the game takes an unexpected twist later on as you pursue the game’s true ending. It really is a mental workout and will likely be too difficult for the vast majority of players to handle, but it also makes every completed level an adrenaline rush.
CREATOR IS YOU
So that brings us to the new major (and free!) content update. As of November 2021, the game has now been updated to include a level editor, along with a curated level list and two level packs containing more than 150 new levels! A very meaty feast indeed. The new levels offer a fun selection of puzzles, from unused levels to brand new ones that are filled with some really creative new puzzles – including a handful of crazy mazes that bring Baba into the third dimension! As with the main game, these new levels range from relatively straightforward to balls hard. Regardless of your skill level, there’s plenty of great content to keep you busy here for a while.
The main draw of the update though is the level editor itself, of course. Due to the game’s aesthetic simplicity, level creation is a breeze once you get the hang of it. Unfortunately, getting the hang of it does involve a large number of overwhelming tutorials that attempt to teach you the ropes. They do kinda work, but because they’re all text based and have zero interactivity, you’ll probably start building with less confidence than before you started the tutorials. That being said, after you finish the tutorials and play around a little in the editor, you’ll find that things aren’t so complicated. Navigation can be fiddly at times, but there are button prompts for everything to ensure you don’t forget. It also helps that everything is very clear to see and manage, allowing you knock a level together in no time at all. The real difficulty will be coming up with interesting puzzles that are even half as clever as the ones in the main game. The community has done a good job so far over these initial few days in showing off how robust the editor is, as we are already seeing interesting riffs on Undertale and Donkey Kong already. It’s a little bit of a shame that there’s no real easy way of browsing user-made content, meaning that you’ll need to scour social media for level codes for the time being.
Baba is You is such a creative puzzle game that takes a simple premise and turns it into something mind-bending. Whilst the difficulty may reach obnoxiously high levels, there’s certainly enough content here to entertain even casual puzzle enthusiasts. The additional level creator too provides an excellent reason to stick with the game once you’re done, despite some minor gripes. This game has a well deserved reputation, and everyone should experience this wonderfully unique puzzle title – even if it does make you feel like an idiot most of the time.