Critical Play: Walking Simulators by Meerim Nurlanbekova

In my first experience playing “BABBDI,” a walking simulator developed by the Lemaitre Bros and available on Steam, I delved into a mysterious and eerie cityscape that ignites a sense of curiosity for exploration. As a newcomer to the game, I found the primary objective to be simple: leave the city of babbdi. This zero-sum game presents players with a clear outcome — they either succeed in leaving or continue playing until they do. Although the characters and the environment in the game seemed so creepy and scary, I tried to remind myself that it was just a game and that my reality is different 😀 (perhaps for people like me who fear darkness and creepy objects, I would try to find some kind of another aesthetically pleasing walking sim game!)

BABBDI’s strength lies in its simplicity, fostering an aesthetic of discovery. The game imposes minimal restrictions on how players achieve their objective, allowing them to freely traverse the map and play at their own pace. This unrestricted exploration serves as the foundation for unraveling the narrative intricacies hidden within Babbdi. While walking is the core mechanic guiding exploration, the real essence of the game lies in how it tells its story.

The game introduces narrative elements gradually as players walk through babbdi and interact with various characters. These non-playable characters contribute to the unfolding narrative, offering tidbits of information about the city and the shared desire to leave. The intentional vagueness in the dialogue initially enhances the sense of discovery, prompting players to search for more details about the storyline.

However, as I delved deeper into the game, I encountered a challenge — the disparity between the details revealed through environmental objects and those addressed in character dialogues. This discrepancy left me dissatisfied, as the narrative seemed incomplete and lacked cohesion. For instance, details seen on a TV in the game were not explained or expanded upon through character interactions. Most of the things were confusing to me…

To enhance the overall gameplay experience, it would be beneficial for the developers to strike a balance between vague and informative elements. This could involve refining the connection between environmental cues and character dialogues, providing a more coherent and immersive narrative. Despite this room for improvement, the unique approach to exploration and the unsettling atmosphere set “BABBDI” apart in the walking simulator genre. Further improvements in narrative coherence would undoubtedly contribute to a more engaging and satisfying gameplay experience for players like myself who seek a complete and well-told story.



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