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The Library of Babel

The Library of Babel

David has been sneaking around and platforming in a robotically rigid way...

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The Library of Babel

Library of Babel is the name of the game, but in the beginning it is graced with the additional title Stealth Platformer Journey. And so the expectations are already set. We'll be seeing a lot of stealth and platforming. The game's story is based on the book The Library of Babel. I haven't read the book myself, but apparently it's about a library that has a book for every possible combination of letters and characters. This means that the majority of the books are unreadable nonsense, but somewhere there is a book that has the meaning of life written in it.

The Library of Babel

The game revolves around robots who find a source that spits out data that they try to sift through to find useful information. I won't spoil the whole game but unfortunately there isn't much to spoil. If you play this to get an interactive version of philosophical questions about infinity and how to deal with it, you will be very disappointed.

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The Library of Babel

Where the game succeeds is in its atmosphere. While the story feels pointless and the main characters flat, the world is interesting. I want to know more about the civilization the robots have created and why their world is the way it is, I want to know how a robot's personality can be changed by editing the hard drive and how they view the humans who created them. It helps a lot that the world is very beautiful, wherever you are you could take a screenshot and use the image as a wallpaper for your computer.

The Library of Babel

The animations on the other hand feel choppy, it was a small detail that I kept noticing. Part of me thinks it's charming as if you're quickly flipping through a book while another part of me thinks it feels sloppy. As mentioned above, this is a platform game. Unfortunately, it feels very awkward to move around which drags it down. It never feels fluid but I have to think about how and when to make a maneuvre. Most of the time it's not a problem, but there are times when it's pretty damn obvious that you die over and over again because a certain action requires you to first jump straight up and then go sideways. It all creates a lack of momentum in a genre that usually uses it incredibly well.

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The Library of Babel

The platforming is entertaining mostly and annoying at points. The Library of Babel also has stealth gameplay, though. So, we have to ask is the stealth any better? Absolutely not. In this game the stealth is the worst part. There are two ways to sneak, hide behind a marked object and wait until an enemy has slowly walked by. Or you can stand still so that a motion-sensitive laser stops pointing at you. It just becomes waiting and more waiting, which in this reviewer's opinion is a boring game mechanic.

The Library of Babel

However, the game also has puzzles, which stand out as a clear highlight. Some of the puzzles are the old-fashioned pull the levers to make the surroundings behave correctly, but the others are puzzles that hark back to click and point adventures where you have to combine objects and find new uses for the mundane.

The Library of Babel

For example, I had an encrypted hard drive that needed to be unlocked. My robot camel could do it but was out of battery. So I found a battery that was dead, then a battery charger that needed something to charge the battery. In my adventures, I found a pear that had in its description that these are refined into energy sources. So I refined the pear by putting it in a mug of beer. So pear beer to the charger, the charger to the battery, the battery to the camel and finally I was able to unlock the encrypted hard drive.

The Library of Babel

It's incredibly satisfying when you figure out the solution, but I also got stuck several times and wondered what the heck I was supposed to do. So if you don't figure it out or look at a guide, you can probably expect to be permanently stuck. Many of these puzzles also require you to talk to different people.

The Library of Babel

If you've played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, you may have a vague memory of an owl whose dialog you wanted to skip and then got a double dose of. All dialog in The Library of Babel feels like that. If you talk to a person, they will repeat the same dialog as they did the first time, and if you try to click past too quickly, you might accidentally click on the same dialog again. The developers have not been kind enough to add a skip button, but they have added a repeat button for some unclear reason.

The Library of Babel

Some of the largest frustrations appeared playing the mini-game that is essentially a replica of Flappy Bird. The minigame was fun in itself, but you will have to make many attempts to reach the goals. Instead of being able to start over immediately when you crash, you end up in a dialog with a person who says oh well, better luck next time. Then you have to start a dialog with him where he goes through how it works in detail and then you can choose which challenge to take on. I counted that I had to click on A 20 times to get past all the dialog to try again.

The Library of Babel

All in all, it was an entertaining game. There were some secrets I didn't unlock in the end that might unlock something remarkable. But if something requires me to comb every path for hidden secrets and get 500 points in Flappy Drone, I'd rather watch someone else do it on YouTube than spend my own time on it. So the rating is 7/10. A good game but needs a lot of polishing to be really good.

The Library of Babel
The Library of Babel
The Library of Babel
07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
+
Beautiful through and through, fun puzzles, interesting world, lots to find
-
Awkward movement, poor pacing, boring stealth
overall score
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The Library of Babel

REVIEW. Written by David Hedin

David has been sneaking around and platforming in a robotically rigid way...



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