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Babel Rising

For: iPhone   Also on: Android

Falling down

Product: Babel Rising | Developer: White Bird Productions | Publisher: Bulkypix | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Babel Rising iPhone, thumbnail 1
It's not just the theology that's suspect in god games. The gameplay is often apocryphal too.

The reasons are easy to understand. The very nature of the term 'god' suggests omnipresence and ultimate power to control the affairs of man, which isn't a great set up for any game.

As strategy guru Sid Meier famously put it, games are about interesting choices, whereas any half decent god isn't going to mess around weighing up the consequences of this or that action. By definition, a god should know what to do. Pow. Zap. Etc. We assume there's not a lot of ambiguity in heaven.

Building a tower

Perhaps this is argument is a bit strong when it comes to Babel Rising. After all, it's a fairly simple 99c game that has you eventually failing to wipe out a neverending stream of small stone-carrying men who are arrogantly building a tower into the skies. The biblical Tower of Babel in fact.

Your goal is to prolong its inevitable completion for as long as possible, racking up points as you destroy as many of the builders as possible using your array of six divine powers.

Significantly, these are fully available from the get-go; instead of unlocking them, your gameplay options revolve around the time it take for each of the powers to recharge after you've used them.

The simplest is the power of the divine, when you just tap any individual builder to destroy them. As with the other powers, it recharges using a three segment system whereby it can be fired off once the first segment has recharged, but waiting for the second and third segments provides extra oomph.

The recharge process is shown graphically as a circle around each power icon slowly fills up. The icon flashes when each segment is filled, glowing white when the power is fully recharged.

The other five options are triggered by simple gestures - single or multiple horizontal or vertical lines - or in the case of the most powerful earthquake spell by shaking your iDevice. (For some reason, the earthquake is the only power that has just one recharge setting. Working like a smartbomb and wiping the screen of builders, it's also the slowest to refill taking over four minutes per pop.)

Your other options are - in fast to slow recharge order - lighting, wind, tsunami and meteorite storm.

Bend, don't break

To be honest however, there just aren't enough powers or options to use them to make Babel Rising very interesting.

You'll be constantly tapping on builders to stop the second-by-second upwards march of the tower, as well as giving you something to do. But the most effective way to play is to wait until the powers have fully recharged before using them.

Sadly this is also a boring way to play. You can link the powers together for combos but this doesn't add much variation either.

Achievements and global leaderboards courtesy of the OpenFeint platform may keep you playing for a bit longer, although I found the integration a little flaky in terms of unlocked in-game achievements being registered within OpenFeint.

More important is that Babel Rising quickly becomes a static experience. You're limited by the recharge time of your powers and this, combined with the six options, doesn't provide enough strategic variation to encourage replayability.

For example, it's a surprise the option to partially destroy the building, not just the builders, hasn't been included. Also getting better at playing the game merely rewards you with the experience of playing the game for longer rather than playing it smarter in any meaningful way.

All-in-all then, this is one tower built on shaky foundations.
Babel Rising
Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan | 2 January 2010
Babel Rising doesn't offer enough strategic options or in-game excitement to encourage prolonged play.
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