Babel Rising Review (Xbox360)

Originally a game on the iPhone, Mando Productions has revamped Babel Rising with 3D graphics and Kinect functionality. And if that premise isn’t enough to scare you off, then you better read on.

The original game had you playing as God, smiting human after human trying to build the fabled Tower of Babel. Being a book of Genesis God, you don’t like this one bit, and so, using your divine control of the elements, (fire, wind, water and earth) you wreak havoc on those poor Babylonians.

I don’t know what God has against towers. Maybe its a phallic thing

The main difference from the first game, sparing the 3D makeover, is the diminished number of powers available to you. While you still have the ability to use the four elements (although only two are available each level) only two attacks exist for each, and these attacks are the same for each. Aiming with your right hand (on the Kinect), you can either slam down with your left hand to do a ‘squashing’ attack which kills either a targeted person or area, or push forward with it, which releases a ‘trail’ attack that follows your right hand and destroys everything in its path. The former manifest themselves as boulders, fireballs, lightening strikes and rainclouds (which slow the enemy down), and the latter as earthquakes, walls of fire, tornadoes and blizzards.

Unfortunately, the Kinect has yet to be perfected once again, as the controls for this game are clumsy and uncomfortable. While you get used to the main controls mentioned above, to switch between elements requires you to clap your hands once. (Or say “switch elements” but the voice recognition was naff and that didn’t work a single time) However, clapping your hands requires you to, well... Move your hands. And so when you go to put them back in their original position, the game misinterprets that as an attack, and can get frustrating seeing as each attack costs mana to use which regenerates over time.

Try not to think about the thousands you’re burning alive while playing this game

This, however, is the only difficult part of the game. Switching to controller mode (which is necessary if you want to play the split-screen multiplayer) abolishes that difficulty immediately, and the game, especially the survival mode, simply boils down to how long you can play before you get so bored you simply give up. The game throws ‘Priests’ at you, who create shields against certain elements, and little curse-pot-things that block your abilities for a limited time, but even then, you’re more likely to get arm ache than fail a level, which are won by completing objectives such as ‘kill x people’, or ‘last for x amount of time’.

While there are special moves that you can use by filling up a meter on the bottom of the screen, you are ultimately left feeling pretty powerless for God. The most powerful attack in your arsenal is the special move for water; the flood. This drowns pretty much everyone on screen and is excellent for racking up points. On the flip side of this though, the raincloud does nothing but slow the Babylonians down. You can’t help but get the feeling that an omnipotent being can do slightly more than make people damp.

There’s an achievement for hurling a Babylonian more than 50m in the air. It’s called “sadistic bastard”

While the game does have its moments (it is amusing to sent 50 little guys flying with an earthquake), you can’t shake off the feeling of lazyness on the developers part. There is no mixing of elements - Water doesn’t put out fire or conduct electricity, and you can’t make flaming tornadoes of death by combining the two together. Also, there is only one goddamn screeching sound for every single death and so when killing everyone on screen, the game just sounds like a laggy echo. For those of you that have played the Likitung mini-game on Pokemon stadium, you know what I’m taking about. There is also the problem of the green and yellow and yellow and red shields conjured by the priests looking annoyingly similar. For a game that only has four coloured attacks, they could have tried to make it more distinguishable. I get the feeling that it will be almost unplayable for colour blind gamers.

The game feels more like a web browser game than a console feature. There is only one thing you can do in the game, and that thing quickly becomes boring. While there is a multiplayer mode, there is no real difference to the gameplay other than having someone suffer it with you. This game probably works very well on a phone, but transferring it to a console was a bad move, and implementing the Kinect is simply unfathomable.

Top Game Moment: The pure evil that is the joy of drowning hundreds of people.

Platform Played: Xbox 360



By Jasca_Ducato (SI Core) on Jun 19, 2012
yeah, a review of this kind was predictable. Could tell this game was going to be abysmal since I first heard about it...
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Jun 20, 2012
God apparently got bored too if you look at all the skyscrapers around the world :P.