Baobabs Mausoleum Ep.1: Ovnifagos Don´t Eat Flamingos Review

The flamingos are not what they seem

Diane, it looks like we’ve got another Twin Peaks inspired video game. Yes, it is set in a seemingly north-western town, yes you do control an FBI agent, and yes, it is intentionally “weird”. What’s that? How is this any different then? Well, it does take a lot more inspiration from its own medium than other Twin Peaks-esque games, although the results are mixed at best.

Aside from obvious nods to Twin Peaks and David Lynch’s wider work, Baobabs Mausoleum Ep.1: Ovnifagos Don´t Eat Flamingos (BMe1) main aim seems to be how weird can wannabee auteur Jacob Jazz make this game. The problem with this approach is that there isn’t anything truly original about BMe1. Playing BMe1 evokes thoughts of other – better – games, whether this be intentional or not. These references in their most blatant appearance are via the gameplay on offer in BMe1. It is not possible to place BMe1 under a single genre because it borrows from multiple video game styles. At first, you think it’s going to play out as a top-down RPG adventure, supported by a JRPG style battle system, but the latter is never seen again; soon you find yourself in a nonsensical first-person sequence locating beavers as part of a dull hide and seek quest. There are other gameplay styles pinched from recognisable series’ such as The Legend of Zelda, which makes you reflect on how you’d rather play that instead.

Amazingly though, these disparate genre elements don’t feel out of place in the context of the game, the whole experience is somehow cohesive; admittedly that sounds like faint praise, which it is. BMe1 is not a bad video game, but it attempts to evoke so many of its influences that it is unable to focus on creating an identity for itself, be it gameplay wise or aesthetics.

Talking of aesthetics, BMe1 is at least consistent in this regard – mostly – sticking to late 80s/early 90s video game visuals. The main outlier though is the previously mentioned first-person sequence, which retains the pixelated look but now in faux 3D – think the old Windows maze screensaver – this is the only instance in the game and has no in-fiction reason for doing so.

Given the disparate gameplay functions that are introduced throughout the game, it is remarkable that it remains functional. There’s one instance where the game trips up, and unsurprisingly that’s because once again Jacob Jazz has tried to emulate the work of another game; Metal Gear Solid’s codec code hidden on the cover, except BMe1 doesn’t have a physical box. To solve a “puzzle” mid-way through the game you’re meant to visit the game’s website to locate the code, except the website no longer exists. Yes, Google exists, but a core piece of information required to progress shouldn’t be omitted like this.

BMe1 can be played in a single sitting, which is probably the best way to experience it, as the disjointed nature of the game can at least have some impact on you. The second of three planned episodes has recently launched on Steam, presumably, the rest will also come to Switch. BMe1 might be worth your time to explore, especially if off-beat games are your thing, just don’t expect anything to stand out.

Baobabs Mausoleum Ep.1


Baobabs Mausoleum Episode 1: Ovnifagos Don’t Eat Flamingos tries so hard to emulate its influences but misconstrues the difference between inspiration and imitation. Had it toned down the references might’ve been a more original game, maybe even an interesting one.