Quite a few puzzle games revolve around programming – from the abstracted forms seen in SpaceChem to the charming command creation of Human Resource Machine – and the appeal of creating your own solution within the expansive rulesets, refining and improving and optimizing, is a thrilling one. But Baba Is You isn’t about messing around within the rules of its puzzles to succeed; it’s about breaking and reconfiguring those rules in clever ways.
On the surface, Baba Is You is reminsicent of Sokoban and similar puzzles, focused on pushing and maneuvering objects to reach the exit flag. So simple, all you need to do is push boulders, find ways around lava and deep moats, and around barriers. Except Baba Is You isn’t just the game’s title, it’s a written rule inscribed within each level, among other rules: Rocker Is Push, Flag Is Win, Wall Is Stop, each one linking an item within the level with an attribute. And with a simple push, you can change those attributes and break the rules.
Perhaps you’ll make it so the walls are the win conditions so all you have to do is touch a wall to beat the level, or maybe you’ll take control of rocks or the exit flag itself and move around the level. Maybe you’ll detach the walls from their stop trait, so you can walk through walls unimpeded or make lava harmless or imbue Baba with lava’s melting attribute. With each of the game’s hundred-plus levels, more rules and attributes and more complex interactions will be introduced; the trailer reveals such complicated scenarios as a twist on a shmup surrounded by myriad commands, color-based commands, and the ability to add multiple attributes to single item (or your character).