Reviews | Written by Chris Jackson 30/03/2021

BAOBABS MAUSOLEUM: GRINDHOUSE EDITION

PLATFORM: PC, PS4, SWITCH (REVIEWED), XBOX ONE | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Previously released across three episodes on PC and Switch digital storefronts throughout 2017-2019, Baobabs Mausoleum may well be the absolute the definition of cult entertainment. Watracio Walpurgis - a vampire eggplant FBI agent - finds himself in Flamingo's Creek, a town that only appears on a mysterious road once every 25 years. One of the locals has gone missing, so Watracio sets off to track them down while at the same time trying to figure out how to leave this cursed hellhole of a town...

Mostly focused on top-down RPG-esque exploration with a bit of puzzle solving thrown in, Baobabs flirts with tons of different genres, from driving and shooting to rhythm games and even a bit of turn-based combat, rarely sticking with one theme for too long. Baobabs' world is anything but sensible, coming across like a videogame version of a Troma movie directed by David Lynch with assistance (or interference) from Tim & Eric. The entire saga is easily one of the most unique gaming experiences of recent years, but be warned - go into it expecting lots of incoherent dialogue and general insanity, but don't expect anything like tight and refined gameplay!

The new Grindhouse Edition brings together all three episodes of this wild adventure, now available to download on PlayStation and Xbox for the first time, allowing players to experience the entire story in one go. But that's not all. A physical edition has also appeared, exclusive to the Switch, containing the full game and a ton of eye-catching extras. While some of these bits and pieces are fairly standard inclusions (a pin badge, poster, postcards, that sort of thing), Baobabs' freaky art style, insane characters and the Spanish developer's unhinged creativity and endearingly rudimentary grasp of English mean that the contents of the big, chunky box make for some supremely entertaining diversions.

Alongside a metallic pin badge depicting protagonist Watracio Walpurgis with his signature cigarette hanging out of his mouth, there's also a glossy double-sided poster which features a town map on one side and all of Flamingo's Creek's inhabitants on the reverse. Three postcards - all with deranged scribbles and doodles on the back - show off a few of the game's environments, and there's a small sheet of 8-bit stickers as well. The official Flamingo's Creek Tourist Guide contains advertisements and information about the town's amenities and attractions from hotels and restaurants to sporting facilities and magic shops, and also includes design documents and concept art to give a nice behind the scenes look at the making of the game. Lastly, there's a deck of cards (in their own separate box) which are used for a specially-created two-player card game, October Monster, featuring characters from the game, where the objective is to "humiliate your opponent and make sure they are mentally inferior by getting more points"...

In an era where physical editions of indie games are fairly rare (outside of reissues by companies like Limited Run Games, at least), Baobabs Mausoluem's appearance on real-world shelves comes as quite a surprise. It's even more startling when you consider how much care and attention has been put into creating such a high-quality package for such a niche title. Trippy, nonsensical, mesmerising, more than a little bit schizophrenic and possibly even borderline psychotic, it's unlikely you'll have ever come across anything quite like this before. Four stars for the regular edition, a full five for the superbly-presented physical release!

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