Reviews | Written by Chris Jackson 23/05/2018

BAOBABS MAUSOLEUM, EPISODE 1: OVNIFAGOS DON’T EAT FLAMINGOS

Watracio Walpurgis is a vampire who is also an FBI agent. He's also a Donald Trump-looking anthropomorphic eggplant, and he isn't the world's greatest driver. He crashes his car on Albatross Road - the highway to Flamingo's Creek, a town that only appears in nightmares and can only be accessed on a particular day once every 25 years... If that sounds too silly for your liking, we should probably say right now that things only get weirder from here on in. We won't think any less of you if you want to tap out before we go any further!

For those of you who are still with us, Baobabs Mausoleum is a sort of retro-inspired almost-but-not-quite point and click adventure game. Taking its cues from Twin Peaks, Monkey Island, and - apparently - Spongebob Squarepants, the journey to Flamingo's Creek is filled with some of the most peculiar characters we've ever encountered. A smelly fisherman, a gang of abusive hide-and-seek loving beavers, and a one-eyed top-hatted stork are just a few of its more memorable inhabitants, and there's a particularly surprising customer in the local diner...

As Watracio Walpurgis, players search the surrounding areas to discover useful items and info that will help him work out just what the hell is going on. The main bulk of the game plays out as a 2D top-down scroller, with the tiniest snippets of other genres thrown in here and there. What might happen when you find a pair of 3D glasses on the ground? Or when you find a game cartridge stashed away inside a treasure chest? One thing's for sure, Baobabs certainly has a lot of tricks up its sleeve.

With graphics largely on a par with the higher end of the Game Boy Color's capabilities, and text littered with horrendous spelling and grammar mistakes (probably due to English not being the native language of the developers at Celery Emblem), you'd be forgiven for thinking that Boababs Mausoleum might not be worthy of your attention. It's all rather endearing though, and the dodgy writing definitely adds an undefinable something or other to the crazy quirkiness of the overall package.

In all honesty, nothing about Baobabs Mausoleum is anywhere even close to being perfect. Apart from maybe the weirdly gripping opening credits, with its incredible theme tune courtesy of the magnificent Messer Chups. An inspired choice indeed! Elsewhere though, ropey writing, shonky graphics and less-than-stellar gameplay mechanics should be more than enough reason to throw a game straight in the bin at the earliest opportunity. However! This particular universe is so completely ridiculous that we couldn't help but enjoy everything Baobabs threw at us. The only real disappointment is the running time, as you're likely to reach the closing credits within a couple of hours at the very most. It ends on a real cliffhanger though, and we're totally on board for the next instalment. Episode 2 is already available on Steam for those who don't want to wait for the console version, with a third act to follow whenever it's ready...

BAOBABS MAUSOLEUM, EPISODE 1: OVNIFAGOS DON'T EAT FLAMINGOS / DEVELOPER: CELERY EMBLEM / PUBLISHER: ZEROUNO GAMES / PLATFORM: SWITCH / RELEASE DATE: MAY 24TH