Please play the prototype demo of Baba Is You, so I’ll have an easier time explaining why the full version – now due on March 13th – is one of the most exciting puzzle games on the horizon. It’s the work of Arvi “Hempuli” Teikari, previously known for tiny but perfectly formed metroidvania Environmental Station Alpha. It’s a puzzle game about re-writing the rules of the game by pushing key-words around like blocks. Lava Is Melt? A quick reshuffle, and Lava Is Float; the previously impassable lake of fire now hovering safely in the air above. Concept Is Brillo. Trailer Is Below.
Update: The level editor won’t be ready in time for launch, but the developer informs me it’s planned for a later update.
The full version of the game looks far cuter and more squiggly, which feels appropriate given how flexible its world is. There’ll be over 200 puzzles to solve (including a lot of new verbs, nouns and block types), and a level editor (post release) to goof around with. The game’s Twitter feed is full of tantalising glimpses of the weirdness to come, including the existentially baffling ‘Empty Is You’ allowing you to control the void itself to manipulate its contents. Some apocalyptic misadventure in there, too. Fun as it sounds, ‘All Is Dust’ doesn’t result in a happy ending for anyone, except maybe the dust.
There was already a lot of potential in just the handful of words and pieces in the prototype, but the full game will include enough to create small mini-games, given some thought. I’ve seen a little Space Invaders-style setup. The developer has even polled the audience a few times, asking people which of several behaviours seems most natural and intuitive in a given unusual situation. It’s a deliciously unique concept, and I have a feeling those 200 levels will only just scratch the surface when it comes to potential brain-teasers. I’m already excited to see what players can come up with.