When a game advertises itself as being a cross between Monkey Island, Link's Awakening, Twin Peaks and Spongebob Squarepants, you know I'm going to want to play that shit.
Jacob Jazz's Baobabs Mausoleum is that game, a pixelated surrealist nightmare filled to the brim with ridiculousness. The first episode, Ovnifagos Don't Eat Flamingos is available on Steam right now. It's far from perfect, but after playing it for an hour, I've got to say I'm incredibly intrigued as to where the game's going.
Baobabs Mausoleum has some brilliant ideas. Its 16-bit art style fits the tone of the game perfectly, and while it's occasionally a little rough around the edges, the design is generally pleasant to look at. The concept is really clever, too. It's set in Flamingo's Creek, a town that only appears on the 11th March once every 25 years. You follow FBI agent Watracio Walpurgis - an anthropomorphic aubergine who looks suspiciously like a purple-faced Donald Trump - as he explores the town after his car breaks down. It's filled with talking animals, crazy monsters, freaky imagery... and a lot of flamingos.
The trouble is, text-heavy Baobabs Mausoleum is very poorly written. I mean, even the name of the game is missing an apostrophe. Being a story-driven point and click adventure at its core, text plays a big part, and almost every line of dialogue is poorly formed and riddled with grammatical errors. Sure, the dialogue is probably purposefully hammy, so some awkward conversation adds to the weirdness of the game, but a lack of capital letters, missing punctuation and the wrong use of 'your'... well, it's a grammar Nazi's worst nightmare.
If you can look past that without your inner grammar demons boiling to the surface, Baobabs Mausoleum is worth a look. It's one of the kookiest games you're likely to play this year, and its original ideas and crazy humour help you to see past its obvious flaws. Changes to the gameplay help keep it feeling fresh - for instance, finding a pair of 3D glasses transports you from a top down 2D world to a first person 3D perspective. The bluntness and random nature of the game is a welcome breath of fresh air too. From the fisherman who nobody wants to talk to because he smells, or the farmer's wife with an eating disorder who can only eat golden flamingo, it's certainly like nothing you've ever played.
The first episode of Jacob Jazz's Baobabs Mausoleum is available now on Steam for $5.99. Watch me play through the first part of the game in the video below: