released on Dec 22, 2022
Find your way out of Babbdi. A short, first person exploration experience.
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"My objective was solely archaeological. I would hunt these gray forms until they would transmit to me a part of their mystery, a part of the secret few phrases could sum up: why would these extraordinary constructions, compared to the seaside villas, not be perceived or even recognized? Why this analogy between the funeral archetype and military architecture? Why this insane situation looking out over the ocean? This waiting before the infinite oceanic expanse?...
...Why speak of "brutalism"? And, above all, why this ordinary habitat, so very ordinary over so many years?
These heavy gray masses with sad angles and no openings - excepting the air inlets and several staggered entrances - brought to light much better than many manifestos the urban and architectural redundancies of the postwar period that had just reconstructed to a tee the destroyed cities. The antiaircraft blockhouses pointed up another lifestyle, a rupture in the apprehension of the real. The blue sky had once been heavy with the menace of rumbling bombers, spangled too with the deafening explosions of artillery fire. This immediate comparison between the urban habitat and the shelter, between the ordinary apartment building and the abandoned bunker in the heart of the pores through which I was traveling, was as strong as a confrontation, a collage of two dissimilar realities. The antiaircraft shelters spoke to me of men's anguish and the dwellings of the normative systems that constantly reproduce the city, the cities, the urbanistic.
The blockhouses were anthropomorphic; their figures recalled those of bodies. The residential units were but arbitrary repetitions of a model, a single, identical, orthogonal, parallelepipedal model. The casemate, so easily hidden in the hollow of the coastal countryside, was scandalous here, and its naturalness was due less to the originality of its silhouette than to the extreme triviality of the surrounding architectural forms. The curved profile brought with it into the harbor's quarters a trace of the curves of dunes and nearby hills, and there, in this naturalness, was the scandal of the bunker...
...Slowed down in his physical activity but attentive, anxious over the catastrophic probabilities of his environment, the visitor in this perilous place is beset with a singular heaviness; in fact he is already in the grips of that cadaveric rigidity from which the shelter was designed to protect him. "
- Paul Virilio, Bunker Archaeology
BABBDI is a game created by the Lemaitre brothers, of whom I know nothing about and is as mysterious as the game itself, which to me works out well considering how interesting the game's atmosphere is. This is gonna be a shorty as it's a short game.
The story is literally just you need to leave the town of Babbdi, and to do that you need to find train tickets. The plot isn't really important as it's mostly just an excuse to run around and explore your environment. This'll be where I get into the gameplay now: what you'll be doing for the most part is jumping around and exploring the small town/city block of Babbdi, and that goes from free running to using Pickaxes to climb walls to driving motorcycles you find around. You can find secret objects as well as interact with the townspeople who mutter the strangest s h i t I can think of; a lot of which you can find just from messing about and taking strange paths around the city that feel both intuitive and non-intuitive (this game is a speed runner's wet dream, they literally give you a baseball bat to hit walls for speed as well as a vacuum to float and a spinning thing to run really fast). The one thing I can say was that this game was funny as hell, as for a good portion of it I had found a Trumpet I think and just went to town hitting the high notes (of which you can switch between three different styles of music) while doing parkour and eventually falling down (no fall damage by the way). That's kind of basically just what you do, it's basic but for the most part it's serviceable and works in tandem with the atmosphere, basically it's a walking/climbing sim.
Sound Design/Graphics section? The sound design is creepy sounding in certain areas. You'll hear lots of muttering and sim sounding dialogue while hearing strange droning going on in the background. With the whole art style they have going (which of course is PS1 looking low poly stuff), it's effective in it's Eastern Europeanesque atmosphere it's trying to get off. To me, I like it.
I don't really know what else to say about this game except it's interesting and if you're into small projects and you want to play a game that you can mess around, climb buildings and explore passageways you didn't think you'd find then try it out. It's not long and it's free so that's an added bonus. I guess the only thing I can really add that could be a negative is that not every place you go to is going to be populated with objects to interact with, sometimes you'll just see empty buildings or whatever but again it's pretty solid and all around strange. Most of my play through consisted of me saying "What the hell is going on" and "This is some strange s h i t" as well as "Damn they really detailed this trumpet didn't they?". All in all, it's impressive and though it maybe strange and empty at times I really liked it.
From Steam Reviews: https://steamcommunity.com/id/gamemast15r/recommended/
Surprisingly not bad. The exploration is fun, there's a lot of secrets and fun items to move faster, jump higher and the atmosphere is kinda depressing in a good way.