Babel Rising Review
A unique concept pans out to be a very boring and extremely slow game
Posted by Christian Sorrell (sirdesmond) on Jul 3, 2012 - 7:32pm EST (351 days ago)
Upon standing, the Kinect works as intended but the gesture system controls awkwardly and makes the extremely easy game suddenly far too difficult just because you cannot switch between and use powers fast enough. You control the game’s cursor with your right hand and activate powers with your left by either moving your hand downward or jutting it out in front of you. To switch to a different element’s powers, you clap your hands together which simultaneously moves the cursor (and therefore the camera) and sometimes activates (and wastes) one of your powers due to your hand moving forward. It is simply not an enjoyable way to play the game.
Multiplayer is very straightforward, including both cooperative and competitive play. Cooperative play allows for two players to each take two of the game’s four elemental power sets and slow the construction of a single tower. Sadly, this cooperative mode is entirely separate from the campaign and is essentially just a survival mode in which you keep playing until you are defeated. This mode suffers from the same difficulty issues of the main game in which it is stunningly easy. My fiancé and I had to simply give up and let the workers just ascend the tower after about 20 minutes of holding them back because we were simply bored with the game (and appeared to be able to hold the workers off indefinitely).
Competitive play pits two players against identical waves of enemies on identical towers in which each player either fights to survive longer than the other or achieve the highest score within a certain timeframe. It is simple, straightforward and tends to be more difficult and faster-paced than the campaign and cooperative modes. Both multiplayer modes are a bit more enjoyable than the singleplayer aspects of the game, but their lack of any real depth and complete lack of online functionality (save leaderboards) makes it unlikely that I would stick to it for longer than just one or two matches.
Babel Rising is an extremely out of place game in the modern downloadable space. It’s cursor-based gameplay, sloth-like pacing and relatively one-note style makes it feel more like a slightly-upgraded flash game like we would have seen in the first years of XBLA and PSN rather than the creative and fully-fleshed titles we are used to seeing available for download today. After hearing the concept, I wanted this to be a puzzle game that hearkened back to the gameplay found in god games of the past (Populous, Black & White, etc.) but instead Babel Rising put me (almost literally) to sleep within the first few levels.
Levels regularly break the ten minute mark and while that may not seem so long, the game keeps the player waiting long enough between worker waves and the waves are so simple to defeat that even a single level can feel like a half hour or more has passed and you’ve done little more than just listen to a bunch of little cartoon workers scream incessantly as they die. In a post-tower defense world, there are many better and cheaper games out there that will give you a far more rewarding experience than Babel Rising. Unless of course, the experience you are looking for is a good excuse for a nap.