FROM WHENCE HE CAME
Baobabs Mausoleum Ep. 1 Ovnifagos Don’t Eat Flamingos -- a fittingly eccentric name for an equally eccentric game. Since the title, at first glance, does nothing to elucidate what it is you actually play, I’ll lay it out in more understandable terms: Baobabs Mausoleum is a 2D, top-view puzzle and adventure game, embellished with an eerie plot, and garnished with a retro VHS-theme that pays tribute to the 90s. Now, if everything seems a bit more comprehensible, be prepared to fall right back into ignorance as I introduce the premise.
This story takes place in the deranged town of Flamingo Creek, an otherworldly residence faintly connected to reality, sometimes allowing for the occasional, foolhardy vagrant to stumble in. You play as Watracio Walpurgis, a sentient eggplant-cum-FBI agent who happened to slip into this pocketed dimension. And yes, you did not misread: our protagonist is indeed a talking vegetable who works as a federal investigator; in Flamingo Creek, you find that many inhabitants are just as strange, if not stranger. In fact, among these backwards folk, there are exactly sixty-four residents, but the real aberration lies in the mystery of precisely who is the sixty-fourth resident. Watracio must venture forth and debunk these mysteries while finding his own way back from whence he came.
The world of Baobabs Mausoleum is one you’d find in your most warped fever dreams. Stylistic inspirations are advertised as coming from television shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Twin Peaks — both natural candidates for the nonsensical and surreal. Grotesque, yet somehow upbeat, the atmospheric vibes are akin to Halloween festivities, or psychedelic tripping. While it can be appealing to wallow in all that is strange and out of this world, it sometimes detracts from a sound understanding of the plot and setting. It’s a bit perplexing to focus on what is happening when you’re distracted, trying to mentally piece together each wacky amalgamation with which you’re confronted.
THE REAL SPICE LIES IN HOW THESE PUZZLES EVOLVE AND INCREASE IN DIVERSITY
The gameplay is a collection of varied puzzles, and unlike all the fictional aspects, the core game mechanics are straightforward. The game is divided into progressively sequenced acts, each fairly short, providing gradual story development while also presenting a distinct type of puzzle. In the beginning, you are introduced with simple interaction-based problems to accustom you the UI, controls, and mechanics which should be familiar to anyone who has dabbled with 2D RPGs or point-and-clicks. Nevertheless, the real spice lies in how these puzzles evolve and increase in diversity. Eventually, you will come across stages that require a bit of platforming, or riddles that can only be solved by accessing the web. At one instance, the game pulls a change-up with the perspective and tackles you with a three-dimensional round of hide and seek.
Specific inspirations for game design are advertised as including The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX and Monkey Island. From the general impressions, you can see that this title is, at its core, a point-and-click adventure game, with its standard system of collecting different items (as seen hovering in an inventory bar at the top of the screen) with the purpose of getting item A to person A, and so on. As you play further, you’ll start to obtain utility items that play a role in more advanced puzzles and or combat instances. This parallels to Zelda’s style of slowly allocating the player tools such as bombs, boomerangs, and ropes to expand both mechanics and intrigue.
Seemingly an anomaly on the Steam store, Baobabs Mausoleum Ep. 1 Ovnifagos Don’t Eat Flamingos is a weird but worthwhile play. It presents a unique and twisted world and a story with a considerable extent of both human imagination and sanity. Each puzzle and problem is different and engaging, providing an innovative experience. As the first installment in the series, we have hopeful anticipation for a successor, to see how the developers will continue to polish what they have here.