Your enemies will show you none
With a title referencing a bible story focused on a mythological explanation for the different languages spoken around the world, you might be forgiven for wondering what Tower of Babel – No Mercy entails. No, it’s not a brutally punishing language teaching game. Instead, it is a simple four-player party game all about building towering stacks of blocks without letting them topple.
Focused entirely on multiplayer, be it local or online, Tower of Babel – No Mercy is all about timing your button presses. A rope hangs from on high, dangling a building block, ready to drop onto a firm foundation. Time it right, and you’ll get the maximum bonus points and create a solid structure to build upon. Time it wrong and you’ll soon see your tower sway, eventually toppling when poorly placed weight pushes balance past its limit.
There are three game types to pick from, depending on how competitive or cooperative you’re feeling. In co-op mode, you and up to three other players take turns dropping blocks onto a single tower, trying not to be the one who fouls it up as you pursue the highest heights and scores. Selfish mode twists the formula by offering a single tower and alternating turns between players, though in this instance it’s the players placing blocks perfectly that earn the most points and will eventually prevail as block stacking champion.
What’s the password?
The final game mode is a head to head battle game type. Each player has their own tower to build and each perfectly placed block will inflict a penalty to the other players; such as gusts of wind that waylay blocks during their plummet or having blocks replaced with awkwardly shaped arches that can quickly ruin a stable structure.
Beyond those regular jabs at opponents, each player picks a character with a distinct special move and visuals for the blocks they drop. These are game-ending moves more often than not, requiring perfectly placed blocks to charge up and inflicting terrible penalties like cutting the other players rope at an awful time, assuming they’re not fast enough to react and cut it themselves, making the other player’s ropes jangle all over the place to making timing drops harder to discern. Some even have you throwing a T-shaped block at opponents so as to create a horribly wobbly layer in their tower. It’s frantic and often short-lived fun, at least until everyone playing gets their timing down.
Never upset the gorilla
The music and graphics for Tower of Babel – No Mercy aren’t going to blow any minds, but they function perfectly and have just enough personality to avoid dragging the game down with mundanity. Bright colours and simple, catchy tunes abound while you play and for such a straight forward game it’s everything it needs to be. Characters fit some standard archetypes for sure, but given the utter abstraction of the game as a whole, it’s a laugh to see an alien trying to ruin a gorilla’s day while the invisible man stacks blocks alongside them.
All in all, Tower of Babel – No Mercy is exactly what it sets out to be — an easily picked up party game that’s good for a few frantic games with friends or family. There’s such a low barrier to entry that anyone could play it, so those struggling to get parents or less game-friendly friends into the mix should find this a far easier sell than the more complex party games available on Switch. Just brace yourself for the finger-pointing when someone’s sloppily placed piece brings the whole thing crumbling down.
[Reviewed on Nintendo Switch]