Babel Rising Review
Made2Game Babel Rising Review Score: 4/10
Formats: PS3, Xbox 360
Format Reviewed: PS3
Developer: Mando Productions
Reviewer: Dave Harrison
As fans of Scooby Doo will no doubt testify, things can go very wrong when something tries to step up onto a large platform from humble beginnings. Whilst it made for a wonderful cartoon, the Scooby Doo films are horrific, CGI-laden disasters. It’s a classic example of the makers not fully understanding what made their creation a hit in the first place, losing all of its previous charm trying to force it into a hole that it simply wasn’t designed to fit in. After playing Babel Rising, I think I’ve just found another classic example of stepping up going horribly wrong.
Babel Rising is the all-bells-and-whistles home console spinoff from the popular iOS game of the same name, a Tower Defence/God Game/Strategy mash up, pitching you as an old-school fire and brimstone type omnipotent God (as opposed to the more hands-off management style of more modern Gods) who needs to stop the plebs down below from building the Tower of Babel, lest they reach the heavens.
The gameplay focuses upon the Tower of Babel itself, allowing you to rotate around the structure on a fixed 360 degree axis. From here you are gifted with a number of rechargeable godly powers, each based upon one of the four elements of Earth, Wind, Water and Fire which you must rain down upon the workers who are attempting to build the tower, smiting them before they can complete the next section of the helter-skelter style walkway they use to ascend to the heavens. Each godly power is mapped to one of the controllers face buttons, and you are able to select which powers you start each mission with, lending some tactical variation as to how you approach each of the single player stages. You can also team up with a fellow god in multiplayer modes, sharing the powers between yourselves to defeat the hordes of unwashed.
It can be quite cathartic to smite some poor, helpless workers, and some tactical nous is introduced as you plough through the stages, such as Priests that can guard workers from certain elements cropping up from time-to-time. Unfortunately though, whilst crushing peons with an errant boulder can raise a smirk the first time, it quickly becomes jolly tedious indeed as you come to realise that every level plays out in exactly the same long-winded and ultimately boring way.
Whilst the general mechanics of Babel Rising are solid and the graphics well realised in a cheerfully chunky art style, the main problem appears to be that the development team just don’t seem to have understood what made the iOS forebear so playable in its original incarnation; Babel Rising is the perfect game to waste a couple of minutes on whilst sitting on the bus or idling away a lunch break, but it simply isn’t suited to the big screen in its current form. Levels often have you guarding your tower for 10 minutes or so, meaning the boredom has set in long before you complete the objectives set for you. Tied to the paltry offering of only 15 stages, all very similar in style and objective, and even for the slender £7.99 asking price, Babel Rising suddenly looks like a very thin offering indeed.
Instead, Mando appear to be trying to justify their price tag through gimmicks – so we have Move support on Playstation, Kinect support on Xbox 360. Whilst we have not had the opportunity to try out any of these modes, I can see how Move could work effectively; other reviews have already covered the Kinect’s functionality in more detail, to fairly negative feedback.
So what we’re left with is a shallow, 3D, rotatable duck shoot with a godly theme which is smothered in gimmicks in order to justify a price tag for a game that isn’t particularly suitable to the platform it has been created for. Just like Scooby Doo, Babel Rising had its niche entirely sorted out, but by reaching for bigger and greater things has fallen out of heaven and will no doubt quickly tumble into the purgatory that is the Playstation store’s search function.
Words by Dave Harrison (Twitter: @SealofMadness)
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