Spacebat Review

Spacebat Review

Jan 7, 2014

Spacebat is an old-school feeling game with an arcade touch. It’s simple in concept, challenging to play.

It comes in 2D form, with the sparse graphical elements that are usually associated with retro games. The protagonist bat is rendered in notable red, the background is expectedly black, and the other hand weekend make up most the game look.

The premise is simple: keep the bat afloat with the given controls by keeping it roughly central to the screen and not floating past the boundaries of the playing area (with the game boundaries are the sides of the hosting device). In other words, use the virtual controls to keep the bat alive as long as possible by not touching the sides of the screen. the controls are set to the sides, with specific dive functionality at the bottom of the screen.

Oh yeah… there are dangers on-screen as well, mostly in the person of snakes of different colors. These snakes have bat1mean steaks, seemingly would love nothing more than to see our lovable flying mammal fail. There’s also stuff like cannons, and things that suck the bat in. Any contact with these things or projectiles they emit ends the flight.

As noted, staying alive is the name of the game, and bragging rights are measured in seconds. In true arcade style, there is a running score in seconds at the top of the screen; as to be expected though, it’s never that easy; as the bat’s lifetime gets longer, the enemies get craftier and more plentiful, moving in interesting ways and generally making it much harder to avoid them. Our bat does get the privilege of procuring power-ups, and these do come in handy, especially when things get tough. Stuff like walls and spinning blades add to the pressure.

The graphics are decidedly retro in nature, with minimalist elements tha effectively convey the gameplay. It probably could use some extra pizzazz looks-wise even within that paradigm, but the gentle touches still work.

But, as seems to be the new wave, simplicity wins here.

Babel Rising Review

Babel Rising Review

Jan 4, 2012

Would you imagine that it’s possible to make a game about a God smiting humans as fast as possible without it being tasteless? Well, the team at Bulkypix took that challenge and have succeeded. Babel Rising is daring in concept, cute and hilarious in execution — pun intended.

In Babel Rising you play as a god, and the humans over which you rule have had enough. As in the biblical story of Babel, they decide to build a tower up to the heavens, to meet with you and ask what the deal is with life, the universe, and everything. But, you are a vengeful god and want none of that. So the goal of the game is to kill the humans before they can build their tower high enough to reach you in the sky. You have a variety of mystical powers at your disposal, all reminiscent of those events which we refer to as Acts of God. There is Lightning, Wind, Flood, a Rain of Fire, and Earthquakes. These all take varying amounts of time to load, you so must be strategic in your use of them. There is however also the Finger of God, which you can use to smite the humans one at a time. A simple tap and the little builder falls apart bloodlessly. Each of the other attacks have a specific gesture that commands it, and there is finally a bonus attack where you can destroy a level of the tower with one blast from the god’s eye. And again, you would assume that a game like this would verge into tasteless territory, but I’d have to say that your mileage on that will vary. The tiny humans are cute and merely look surprised when they fall apart or are swept away by a wave.

The developers have also made sure that the game will not get old quickly. There are four modes of play, and each is different. Classic is the version I mentioned above. Divine is the same game, but now Lightning is your fastest power, and you have the new power of the Burning Bush (lighting it sets the nearest humans on fire). The next option is Fury, and this time the workers are immune from some attacks, depending on their type. They are actually meant to be damned souls trying to escape from Hell, which explains why they might be resistant to lightning. And the final mode is Campaign. Each stage sets you with a specific goal to complete before you can advance to the next. An example is a countdown clock during which you have to smite as many humans as you can. You can also earn coins which you use to increase the strength and range of your attacks.

The coolest thing about the game, in my opinion, is the simple fact that no matter what the humans will get to the top. The game will just fill the screen with builders until the point that you simply cannot stop them from building. You can become incredibly skilled at slowing them down with your weapon use, but no matter what, the humans will eventually reach the top. Rather than being discouraging, it is instead exciting as you see how long you can hold them off for.

The game is a little buggy at times. On a few occasions it has thrown so many little men at me that it can’t render its own handiwork and freezes. I’ve lost entire game files to that error; the men were all frozen in place and I was unable to kill them. I was forced to begin a new game to get around it. very frustrating. In fact, as I was playing the game while writing this review the game froze and even after I exited, the music continued to play. It was a bit eerie, hearing the little builders continuing their word behind the scenes.