And on the seventh day, God did waggle his Move controller at the TV screen and smite the Babylonians, scoring himself a righteous trophy.
Originally released as an iOS game, Ubisoft have given Babel Rising enough love, and updated 3D graphics, to release it on XBLA and PSN as a digital download.
Okay, I am gonna get all biblical on you now. The game is based loosely around the Tower of Babel story in which all of the humans on the Earth gathered together in one place, all speaking the same language, and decided to build a massive tower, the top of which would touch the heavens. God, obviously not happy at the idea of having people popping around unannounced whenever they wanted, cast the humans around the Earth and gave them all different languages. Well, that’s how I remember it…
In Babel Rising, the player takes on the role of God, long flowing beard and white robe optional, and must stop the tower being built by the industrious Babylonians. Rather than pulling a Godly act and casting them to the four corners of the Earth, or even removing their legs or hiding all of the rock under a giant donut, you are given four elemental powers with which to stop the Lemming like humans.
With the very base of the tower built, the humans slowly start trudging up the ramp and each one that makes it to the end sacrifices themselves to add another section. Like a relentless horde, they just keep on coming with no consideration for the feelings of their God, and occasionally things get mixed up a little as different types of human start climbing the tower. Priests come along who are immune to one of your elemental powers, workers carry jars which will curse any power used to destroy them, preventing the player from using it again for a while, and construction towers try to overwhelm your Godly self. All in all, God will have his work cut out to keep this tower down.
So what awesomely divine tools does the player have at their finger-tips? Well, to start with, they have the Move controller. The player gets to take two of the four available elemental powers into the game and they then use the Move controller to bring down their wrath. Pointing the controller at the screen, the player is able to cast with great precision lumps of rock or fireballs, or direct massive flows of water to slow down the little Babylonians. The two powers in the game have to be switched between and then cast with either a tap or a longer press of the Move button. The tap will bring down a more individual attack, whilst the longer hold will have an area effect, such as a wall of fire. Each of these abilities has to be charged after use and has three levels of charge, allowing the player to loose a small and less powerful attack if they are in a hurry.
Each elemental power then has a third, “super” attack. These are charged simply by causing devastation with the other attacks, until a meter is filled. Then the player is able to unleash a massive flood, bring down a meteorite storm or even roll a giant boulder along the tower walkway, knocking aside all of the Babylonians like some twisted game of God Bowling. These powers take a while to charge, but are very much worth it and can turn the tide of the game.
The game comes with a campaign mode, which slowly introduces new aspects and becomes more difficult, a survival mode, for players who just want to beat their high score, and some multiplayer action. Players can compete to see who can last the longest, see who can get the highest score in a given time, or they can work together, which is perhaps the most interesting mode as each player can take two powers, allowing all four powers in a single game and a wealth of destructive possibilities.
There may not be much depth to Babel Rising, and the surprises are few and far between. But it is the perfect game for anyone who has a Move controller and is surprisingly satisfying. Besides, being able to destroy the little people on the screen, rather than constantly protecting them, makes a nice change and will bring out the wrathful God in you. Enjoyable, but short-lived.