O Babylon, famed, mystic city of the ancient world, you have been resurrected from the desert ashes to reign supreme once more, ascending the perilous heights to reclaim your place amongst mankind, courtesy of the app store.
Okay, so maybe this app isn’t quite as historically mighty as I make it seem, but it’s not a half bad little puzzler. Playing rather like a 3-D combination of Tetris and Bejeweled, you rotate a circular base as stacks of blocks fall from the sky. The blocks are all inscribed with various runes in sets of 3, and you can cycle through to rearrange their order before they settle into place. Match 3 in a row and they disappear, which is good, because you don’t want the tower building up too high.
I like games you can just pick up and go, and Babylon Tower does a reasonably good job of providing this kind of simple, casual gameplay. The touch controls are fairly intuitive, although the sensitivity is a little on the finicky side. More than once I rotated the tower far beyond where I intended, and it was all too easy to accidentally send a stack rocketing down instead of merely rearranging the blocks. However, the gameplay was addicting and appealing, in the same basic way Tetris and match-3 games are.
In general, I also liked the theme-iness of the game, since it gave it a jolt of much needed character. The level map gave it a bit of adventure flair, which was nice, although I could have done without the cuneiform-style font they used for everything. Give me a clear font I can read any day over one that is theme-y. This was a problem for the block runes as well, since they became harder and harder to identify as the game progressed. I understand that they were going for a certain “look”, and making the blocks more distinct would have taken away from the uniform architecture of the “tower”, but it would have done wonders for the gameplay.
The game is also lacking in the tutorial department. As I mentioned before, the controls are fairly intuitive, but the Help page is confusing, and a brief tutorial would have been ideal for making everything crystal clear.
For all its minor flaws, this is still a more than decent puzzle game with a solid mechanism, addictive gameplay, and professional look. This is definitely the kind of casual puzzle game that will appeal to those of you looking for a fix beyond the realm of Bejeweled.
Here is a video demo of the Babylon Tower app on the iPhone
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