Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPod touch 4
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Babel Running is not a game that exists in a vacuum. It's essentially the reverse of the 2009 defense game Babel Rising that put players in control of the Biblically-inspired defense game that had players controlling a vengeful god trying to stop his creations from building a tower to reach him. Or her – the god is only represented by a giant triangular eye in the sky, after all. The little peasants had blocks brought in to build the tower. Who was bringing the blocks in? What was their story? Babel Running is that story.
Players control a running peasant, trying to carry blocks to the tower location. There are stone pieces to collect, with 3 forming a whole stone, and the ability to carry 3 at a time. The stones serve multiple purposes: they're the de facto health bar, as each time the player hits an obstacle (such as various spiked things, snakes, and the wrath of God) they lose a block – and if they don't have a block, then game over! The blocks also serve as a points multiplier, so keeping the block count up is good, with more points given at the occasional tower dropoff points for having more blocks.
The blocks element gives this the hook it needs to stand out a bit amongst the glut of endless runners on the App Store. While it's largely a promotional vehicle for the upcoming Babel Rising 2, to help get the series back in people's minds, the way that the game really incentivizes block collection while trying to survive the many obstacles.
The controls seem to have a bit of latency to them, which makes dodging some obstacles, especially when nearing the ends of platforms, very tricky. Be prepared to jump a little earlier than expected because of the slight lag, though this of course presents its own challenges. Game Center is integrated, but it's off by default at game launch, so there aren't many players on the leaderboards yet.
Babel Running is not one of the all-time great endless runners – it's no Canabalt or Jetpack Joyride, for certain, but it's an entertaining little game, and one that may be just a bit more amusing for those fans of Babel Rising because of its tie-in, though it's certainly enjoyable without having played it.