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Game Guys review - Babel Rising

7:21 AM, Jun 28, 2012   |    comments
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  • 'Babel Rising' for Xbox 360.
  • 'Babel Rising' for Xbox 360.
  • 'Babel Rising' for Xbox 360.
  • 'Babel Rising' for Xbox 360.

Since Microsoft released its Kinect peripheral for Xbox 360, there have been a handful of iOS/Android games that have made the jump from the smartphone to the home gaming console with some success.  Halfbrick Studios' Fruit Ninja is a great example of this.  Bulkypix/Ubisoft's Babel Rising?  Not so much.

The concept behind Babel Rising is a rather simple one: The Babylonians are constructing a tower that will reach the heavens.  You, being the deity you are, do not want this to happen.  Your remedy of choice?  Smite the builders with your awesome (some not so awesome) powers.  Honestly, the concept isn't that horrible.  It's just too bad the developers didn't do more with it when they translated the game from iOS to the 360.

The game's controls for both Kinect and standard Xbox 360 gamepad are quite simple -- as they were on the iPhone when the game originally came out a few years ago.  For the gamepad, each of its four action buttons have a different god-like power associated with it.  Moving the cursor to more-or-less aim the smiting power is done with the left analog stick and the camera is controlled with the right.  The player's ultimate smiting powers, which refills over time as Babylonians are snuffed out via the standard powers, is triggered by the left and right triggers.  It's all pretty simple stuff and it executes acceptably.  Kinect controls, however, are a near disaster.

When playing via Kinect, everything is controlled by the player's left and right hand/arm.  The left hand is used to both rotate the camera and target the player's smiting powers.  Not only is difficult to accurately aim, but the arm gets quite tired and sore after a few minutes of play.  The right arm is in charge of executing the godlike powers that would be mapped onto the gamepad's action buttons.  While the gestures are simple, the game simply does not pick the actions up very well -- causing the player to look like a bird flapping his right wing while holding the left one still.  This failing of the game to recognize actions and how difficult and tiring it is to aim the cursor and control the camera are major negatives and they bring this game down with them.  At least the part where the player can verbally switch power types works without a hitch.

Xbox 360 or iOs, Babel Rising is an entertaining game that is best played in spurts.  It really is ideal for a touch-based platform such as an iPhone or tablet computer.  While, in theory, it translates also to Kinect, in reality it fails to do so adequately.  Any Xbox 360 gamers who are thinking about downloading this XBLA title really should do so, though through the Apple App Store instead.

Final Game Guys grade: D+

(A press copy of this game was provided for review.)


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