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Works on Several Levels, March 9, 2021
Sit and watch helplessly, in horror and/or amusement, as a baby pilots a combat mech, sowing mayhem and carnage.
I find the sheer extravagance of this premise to be hilarious, and GUNBABY delivers it with confidence and sass. But beyond that, the game works on an additional level (spoilered as this basically details the entire plot of the game, short and simple as it is):
(Spoiler - click to show)Perhaps the cleverest conceit of GUNBABY - which elevates it beyond merely being the violent romp that it most certainly is - is that the baby is a police officer. The fact that Officer Giggles patrols the mean streets in a heavily-armed death machine is no accident, but rather the result of a logistical dilemma: in order to equip their combat mech with a more powerful propulsion mechanism, the police department needed to free up space by finding a smaller pilot. Thus, the game can be read as a commentary on militarized law enforcement, or perhaps more broadly on the use and delegation of power within hierarchical organizations. When some people are empowered to use force against others, what's to stop an undisciplined/unqualified/malicious actor from abusing that power? GUNBABY calls attention to this concern by taking it to its logical extreme, vesting a farcical amount of deadly power in arguably the worst possible candidate.
I enjoyed the visual presentation. As for the game design, it's unclear to me how much of an effect the player's choices actually have. In some cases, the gunbaby seems to follow the player's instructions, but I'm not entirely convinced that this is anything more than coincidence - perhaps the gunbaby's actions are completely random. Until and unless someone figures out a pattern or method that eludes me, the player is effectively a helpless observer. This won't satisfy all comers, but I feel that it does contribute effectively to the sense of complete FUBAR-ness that GUNBABY cultivates.