Critical Play – Walking Simulator

For my first walking simulator experience, I played Babbdi by the Lemaitre Brothers on STEAM. With some graphics depicting sickly NPCs, I would say that this game is designed for a more mature audience. For example, in the image below I had picked up a tracker that would lead me directly to a dead person who had an extra train ticket. 

Escaping from the abandoned city of Babbdi in this solo, first person game does not involve fighting villains like several more popular video games. Instead, the main mechanic is simply walking around (or sprinting, for those that are a little less patient). However, while walking through this decrepit city, you stumble upon various NPCs who offer hints on how to escape, or simply state how sick they are and express their desire to leave as well. Walking also leads you to several special items, 21 to be exact, all of which can be collected by the user. While I thought getting a train ticket would require discovering all 21 objects, the two goals were separate, and provide the user with another objective as they explore the map. I initially thought that I had wasted time looking for these objects, but I realized it was all a part of the experience. 

Although I loved the simplicity of the controls of Babbdi, I did have a moment where I believe I objectively wasted time. There are items such as flashlights, leaf blowers, and baseball bats that all serve different purposes that can help you progress through the map. Right at the start of the game, I picked up a flashlight and accidentally threw it off of the starting building before I could explore the darkness. For some reason I thought I would find an extremely important clue in that building, so I immediately jumped down to retrieve my flashlight. After spending 10 minutes unsuccessfully trying to call the elevator down to bring me back up, I restarted the game, only to find that nothing of importance was up there after all. 

Despite this fail, this game still provided a discovery type of fun, even though the main mechanic was simply walking. Finding new areas of the map and figuring out how to clear the obstacles there was fairly entertaining. The discovery was not simply limited to the map, however; I also enjoyed discovering new NPCs and new objects across the map.

I played this game on my Mac, and I could see myself having a better experience on a gaming computer or other device. I was enjoying the gameplay, but my computer started to slow down after playing for a decent amount of time. On a different device, I could easily see myself escaping Babbdi after a few hours of exploration. However, I did end my playing session fairly high up on the map.

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