Today, I’m reviewing the lovely app Tower Of Babel for the iPad. There are two basic skills needed to succeed in this game. The first skill is a sense of how much space something takes up. The second skill is the ability to stack things on top of each other. It took a few tries for me to realize that I lack both of these skills. Regardless, I still had fun playing the game.
The game starts with two blocks stacked on top of each other. Another block slides on screen and glides back and forth about two block lengths above the top block. This would be where the skill of having a good sense of space comes in. The moving blocks always seem smaller to me than what they really are, so I miscalculate when to drop them.
The higher the blocks get, the more rickety the tower becomes. Yes, it’s like Jenga. If the blocks are skewed to the right, I try to overcompensate by stacking them more heavily on the left. In my twisted sense of logic, it works and balances. I’m sure engineers are cringing out there. If you want to fix the problem, the best thing you can do is stay as centered as possible.
With Tower Of Babel you can be just a hair off balance with your blocks. The more blocks you try to stack, the more problematic this becomes. I also learned that in the early stages, you can safely have a block hanging halfway off the tower. However, as you stack, the halfway blocks will fall off. As soon as a block tumbles off, you lose. I’m going to give my approval of the physics mechanism that can tell the difference between a freshly laid block or a higher tower stack.
I also have to give the developers a geeky nod for how they chose to alert you to the fact that you did indeed lose. You don’t see a “Game Over” banner or “The End.” Nope. You see a contractor telling you “Epic Fail.” Somehow, that softens the blow of losing the game. Well done.