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God simulators can sometimes bring out the worst in people, but Babel Rising doesn’t even bother with the concept of mercy; you’re just some omnipotent jerk. But even the sadistic pleasure of crushing villagers can’t rescue the game from mediocrity.
Babel Rising has--at least at its core--a marginally biblical theme. Builders and priests are attempting to construct a giant tower, and as a clearly vengeful god, it’s your job to stop the ascent. The single-player campaign contains 15 stages based on three different tower types. Thwarting the progress of a consistent stream of villagers requires the use of elemental powers based on fire, earth, wind, and water. Each level offers a slight bit of variety, but if the tower is constructed before the objective is completed, you’re done as a deity.
When the tower gets overrun, you’ll spin around the tower (hopelessly).
Each power contains two variations--a fireball or a stream of fire, for example--and using one category to smite enough townsfolk will unlock a special attack. The payoff from sending in a giant flood or a windstorm is fairly satisfying, even if controlling the assault is a bit awkward. Frustration with Babel Rising’s controls grows worse when the villagers begin to enter the tower from multiple directions.
When the monotony of Babel Rising’s bland mechanics proves too much to withstand, the brief campaign is already over, though a survival mode is here to test your patience, tasking you with dealing out the same couple of powers into eternity. And if the multiplayer mode sounds alluring, well, it’s only local. Passing your Mac around certainly doesn’t feel very almighty.
The bottom line. Babel Rising gives you the power of a vengeful god for a little while, but this one-trick pony quickly turns into a chore.
OS X 10.7 or later
ESRB rating: Everyone 10+
Distinct take on the god simulation genre.
Monotonous gameplay. Short on content. Frustrating controls.