Review: Babel Rising

The Bible’s a crazy book. There’s so much going on it’s quite hard to keep up with it all. You certainly couldn’t make a musical based on the stories in there, but that hasn’t stopped the development of Babel Rising. The story of the Tower of Babel doesn’t sound like a typical game; following the famous flood some people rocked up to build a new town with a huge tower that stretched up into the heavens. God wasn’t too keen on the idea so scattered them about a bit and the tower never got built. I think that’s what happened anyway. And so we end up with Babel Rising, where you take the role of God doing what you can to stop these folk building their pesky tower.

In theory, this sounds like it has potential to be a lot of fun. Using Water, Earth, Wind and Fire (not the long-running multi-genred musical types) you can throw all sorts of different things at the Lemming-like builders at they march up the circular walkway that surrounds the building. With the choice of two elements in each round (and two ways to use each one) there’s some variety in your attacks ranging from simply lobbing rocks down from the sky through to lightning strikes and mustering a flood to sweep away anyone who happens to be nearby. Priests will often appear who are immune to attacks from a specific element, so keeping some resources free is an important consideration when you realise there’s a little meter that needs time to recover each time you use an element a few times.

Everything starts off easily enough and gives you chance to get the hang of the controls, which can either be set up with the controller or with your Move remote. I’ve heard a lot of people complaining about the Move controls, but I actually found them to work pretty well. Pointing to where you want the attack to happen felt very natural, and even having to press a button to flick between the elements (as opposed to them being mapped to the 4 face buttons on the controller) didn’t cause any problems. That said, spinning the camera round often caused it to zoom in a bit as well, meaning I always felt the need to move the… err… Move diagonally down when rotating as opposed to just left and right.

Once you’ve worked out your methods of attack the game starts getting tougher by sending in the little guys from multiple locations, increasing the amount of workers or starting you nearer the top of the tower. That’s pretty much it except for a few little surprises later on, which is a shame really as things get a bit dry and lacking in inspiration once you’ve had the fun of trying out the new elements, and you get to do that in the first half hour. The objectives change to try to make life interesting, so sometimes you’re surviving for a set amount of time, other times you’re trying to kill a certain number of little folk, priests, whatever else. But ultimately you’ve seen it all after a very short amount of time, and there’s no way around that fact, it’s a bit tough to stay motivated despite the difficulty getting ramped up later on.

And that’s pretty much why this review is quite short – there just isn’t much to write about. It looks alright for a downloadable title, but there are very few moments that will give you the impression that you’re playing it on a powerful piece of gaming kit. The sounds are pretty basic with a fairly annoying musical loop that I chose to turn off after the second game, and the general feel of the game points more towards the iOS release than that of a PS3 or 360.

A temporary saving grace lies with the multiplayer options, which let you team up with or against another player to either try and complete levels in a co-op style, battle to get a highest score or survive the longest, and these are pretty decent fun for a while and certainly help to make the game slightly more worthwhile.

But generally, this is a bit of a shame. It’s not a terrible game by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just too samey to be something you’re likely to stick with for any length of time. That said, there’s a demo available which is definitely worth trying out, even if just for the fact it might be something good to use your motion controller for. Personally I just couldn’t see myself coming back to it all that much, which only goes to suggest this is a straight forwardly above-average downloadable.

Reviewed on PS3

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