Tower of Babblers


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towerbabblers.jpgJohnBTower of Babblers, an entry by Lars A. Doucet in our second Flash game design competition, is one part puzzle, one part frantic action game. It takes the contest theme of "grow" and morphs it a bit into "build", incorporating cute fuzzy creatures into one of the most unique titles entered into the competition.

Start by clicking the far right cubes a few times to uncover the stage goal. Colored stacks of blocks will appear in one of six positions, each representing a slot on the main part of the game. Your job is to build the towers represented on the right using three different colors of workers. Click the blocks to the left to make a worker pop up, and click the worker to change its color. Like-colored workers build the corresponding block colors, so group them together and let them do their thing.

The real fun comes when you need to destroy blocks or halt construction on a tower. To stop the workers, put a pair of different colors together. To destroy blocks, simply place one worker of each color on one square and they'll start tearing everything down piece by piece. Be sure to stop the workers before a tower reaches the clouds!

Analysis: Tower of Babblers has a great theme, wonderful retro VGA graphics and a delightful soundtrack. Lars has done an excellent job pulling together the whole package into an unforgettable competition entry. It deviated from the "grow" theme a little, but the game itself more than made up for that.

Many players found it difficult figuring out how to play the game. I tend to gravitate towards titles that don't state the mechanics up-front, so Tower of Babblers was even more fascinating to me. Would a tutorial or instructions make the game better? I'm inclined to say "no". Not only does it add a vital element of discovery to the game, it also fits nicely with the whole "Babel" theme.

Tower of Babblers is a welcome blend of puzzle and action elements that gets quite frantic at times. Thanks for another brilliant game, Lars!

Play Tower of Babblers

Be sure to check out other games by Lars here, or at his site Fadupinator.

zxoNot quite Grow, but more along the lines of Build, the concept behind this game stood out more than most. Micromanagement games aren't really my cup of tea, but I'll give Lars credit for this one—there's not much that would improve this one in my opinion. Hiding the plans for the tower did not add anything to the game, and frustrated me to no end before I checked the comments. Also, the music got pretty irritating after a while. However, I loved the voices, the Biblical elements, and the old-school-type graphics. A very solid entry.

dancemonkeyI liked the game fine, but as with zxo micromanagement games give me hives... ON MY BRAIN! I did however fall in love with the game at first sight because of the absolutely stunning, nostalgia-inducing EGA graphics.

JayI struggled with Tower of Babblers the first time I played, determined to figure it out. I could not. It wasn't until after the first few comments began to appear, which suggested to click on the vine covering to reveal the information underneath, that the whole game began to make sense. I understand why Lars chose to hide it—to enhance the 'discovery' aspect of the puzzle—but I feel the entry was harmed more than it was helped by doing so. That being said, and once the player is over that initial hurdle, Tower of Babblers rises into the heavens by virtue of being an enjoyable action puzzler. It is an exceptional effort with considerable thought put into every element. Original graphics and music make this entry really shine. Very nice job!

62 Comments

HOWDY!
lets get to work!

these fists of god are killing me!.. literally

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I tried, I really did. The babblers were cute and I wanted to make them do stuff... other than what I managed to get them to do. Unfortunately I fail at non-instructional puzzles :(

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Rulz, it's right there in front of you.

When in doubt click on something.

Click on EVERYTHING.

That should get you started. It's the most basic and benign of spoilers. =)

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Hey Rulz,

Just so you know, once the "puzzle" has been figured out there's still quite something to the game, so even if you have to read a spoiler later on when they start being posted, you should still be able to have fun with it :)

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lets see...
so far I am still at a loss to stop the Fists of God (FoG's) :P
my current line of thought:

hmm the tower of babblers... suggests the tower of Babel...
which makes sense because when the FoG's come, the babblers can't speak to each other anymore (because they are different colors.....) but i don't know my history enough to figure out why God destroyed the tower of babel...
anybody else?
perhaps my line of reasoning is completely off :)
anyhow fun little game

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I think you're supposed to build a solid tower (for the FoG) of each color before the time limit is up

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got it :)

it would be nice to talk to god

and since we are going witht the little old testament theme think along the lines of moses.....

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Ffirebrand February 28, 2007 4:03 AM

what a wicked game i figured out

that if you click on the babblers lots of times they change colour, also that if their the sme colour and their on a block they get to work and if you have more than one on a block they work faster!

but thats as far as i've gotten it i dont know what the right hand means i get the colour but the% one does that mean there has to be two of them in the same spot?

FfireX

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Moses? He parted the red sea, didn't he? How does that help with towers?

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haha sorry about that...

think stone tablets that tell you what to do(along the lines of the ten commandments ... whoops... i think i should win an award for ambiguity :)

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haha sorry about that...

think stone tablets that tell you what to do(along the lines of the ten commandments ... whoops... i think i should win an award for ambiguity :)

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Relatively straightforward hints...
As to building...

If there are two or more babblers of one colour, they start building a block in that colour.

As to the babbler's behaviour towards each other...

If there is a majority of babblers of one colour on the screen, they'll kill the minority :-(


Stopping the building process...

Just switch the colour so that there is only one babbler of one colour, and they'll stop building.

What I can't figure out...

How you tell the game that your tower is finished... and that you want to go on to the next level ;-)

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Okay, figured the last thing out:

You must build the tower in the correct slot (as shown in the two little screens on the right).


Keeping the fist of God up in the clouds:

Stop building before you reach the clouds! The citizens of Babel wanted to reach heaven with their tower (a severe case of hybris), which made God angry; he (or she ;-)confused their languages, so they couldn't communicate anymore and had to give up building.

Made it to level 4 so far with this info.

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Took me a while to figure out...

Groups of 2 or 3 will build a tower in their color.
2 of mismatch will stop building. 3 mismatching will tear down the building and die when done. Click the covered "tablets" on the right side to reveal what towers you should make. There are 6 slots for where you must make each tower. You have to make each color block corresponding to the tower instructions given. If you build too high, God will destroy the building and change your people's colors. If right, he'll give you a big thumbs up. :D

Fun game. Quickly changes to a heavy micromanagement puzzle.

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Great game. Really liked the blocky sprite graphics. I can't get sound at work, but I'm going to try it again at home despite completing it just to hear the voices :) On that line the game was quite short and once I'd found out what to do it was quite easy. However, I'm sure there's a lot more that could have been done without restrictive time limits. On the last level I was worried that...

I'd soon be expected to manage breaking up groups in clever ways to get the job done. But builder limit was never an issue.

Cute ending (not exactly sure what happens

: do they die of old age after a long, happy and reverent life or get zapped?

), and I like the way the "no instructions" guideline was combined with the mixed languages idea to make a novel game. V cool :)

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Very original and fun action puzzler! Allthough it wasn't too hard to figure out how this game works, i think the "missing" instructions do not have anthing to do with a "discovery" game. It's more like: you get a old nintendo-cartridge without box and booklet, and you have to figure out how the game functions without instructions. In other words: it does not really add something.

That said, I really like the game, well balanced rules, high replay value, give it instructions and it will be a hit! Congrats! [off to play some more!]

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Yay, I figured it out on my own for once! I just beat it, it was fairly easy.

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A cool new gaming idea combined with really nice artwork (graphics and sound) giving a total +++!

I also say, that the click on the block to see the quests does not add anything to the "core" game, only might scare away people really interested into that thing.

Also my boring sermon of "concentrate on one concept of inducing fun"... the discovery part is not really a part of the game, once you get out how it works, discovery is left behind, and not a concept of fun that takes its thread through the game. Therefore I would remove it, by giving instructions or at least showing the tower symbols directly at start.

While leaving instructions away from "Alchemist's Apprentice" was a good idea there, since discovering was the "concept of inducing fun" in that game, this might be improved by giving them.

Other than that I wish more games on the net might be as original and well crafted as this one!

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I definitely agree with wouter. I remember I used to get old sega games without the book (and later playstation games) and I had to sit and just work out what was right vs. wrong.

I enjoy this, the biblical theme is interesting, particularly since the music is really sort of generic christmas music.

Happy...holidays?

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Yay, got to the end! (ending-related spoiler, NOT HINTS, don't click unless you want to spoil the end of it...)

And aww, it's kinda sad that even at the end of all that they get zapped into oblivion.

And on some game-related hints...

I noticed that you only have a limited amount of babel-men; I think it's the number down underneath the left stone tablet (It was at zero when I realised I couldn't place any more).
Also I found that to get god to give you the A-OK on your towers, just stop building on a stack when you have the required amount of blocks, half-finished ones don't count for it. As soon as your last stack hits the required amount/colours, you should get the thumbs-up.
FoGs just tend to mess things up, nothing advantageous happens if you get one.
And lastly, I found the micro-management a lot easier if I just set two people to work on most of them, sticking a third onto one to make it shoot up faster, before removing the third, and changing the colour of a second, 'leveling it off' at its cap so to speak.

Knowing it people would've mentioned this stuff by the time I post this, but oh well. ;)

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Nice game. Fun to keep going back to!

Love how some people don't follow directions even when they are actually given. Brilliant!

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I actually think that the lack of instructions is what makes this game so good.
For me and my friends it took a lot of time to figure out what you actually need to do(I couldn't do it so I showed it to a couple of friends of mine), but once we did, each of us finished the game (seperetly) quite fast.
Once you know what to do, it's really easy to do it.

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For the end it looks like..

they attempt to worship each other in vain, and then pray to the heavens and get to be stars.

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wow. a very funny and confusing game. i got most of it, but still couldnt get past lvl...

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Here's a problem: The window in which the game appears (using Firefox 1.5 under Windows XP) is too small for me to see the block at the right that apparently shows the desired towers, and the button to resize the window is non-functional (grayed out). Anybody else have this issue? Anybody have a suggested fix?

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Hola! Voy a trabajar! Me encanta!

This may be my favorite game so far.

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Dan, you don't need to scroll, just get clicky.

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bigorangedot Author Profile Page February 28, 2007 1:33 PM

I felt like I wanted to call this Tower of Bafflers...

I couldn't figure this one out until I realized I could...

...click on each little guy individually.

Overall not too difficult.

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Little spoiler on the ending:

I'm a Russian Orthodox Christian, and put some Orthodox rituals into the ending of the game. When they bow to each other, they are actually doing prostrations, a symbol of forgiveness and penitence. Throughout the game, when 3 babblers of foreign colors meet, they kill each other, yet here they make peace with one another. Though I do think the interpretation that they were trying to worship each other in vain also works!
I was originally going to make the hands of God come down and lift them into heaven, ala Enoch or Elijah, but I ran out of time. So I just had a beam of light take them into heaven. Sorry if it was confusing. :P
But I don't know, the ambiguity is kind of nice...
Thanks for Enjoying the game!

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Also! Just a fun teaser:

(probably not a spoiler, but just in case)

There are FIVE, count 'em , FIVE Easter Eggs in this game for you guys to find!

If you need a hint:

Two of them are cheat codes you probably won't figure out. One is a reference from Alchemist's Apprentice.



The other three are hidden in plain sight.

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bigorangedot Author Profile Page February 28, 2007 2:05 PM


Aww isn't it nice how we can all work together in peace in the end. Er I guess that's what it means. And apparently the red guys are speaking English, the yellow guys speak Spanish, and the blue guys speak Norwegian.

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Hmm, if there were instructions to the game, it would make it a lot easier; so it's fine there aren't any. Plus, the midi music doesn't get annoying after a while, unlike lots of other midis. I like this one.

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Lars,

Again, great game!

I had earlier found the

double click screen reset with the red hourglass

but please has anyone else seen any other easter eggs? or Lars how about another hint, as I must be blind!

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OK also got the

hidden messages in the crosses

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Well CC,

If you found the crosses, that's three easter eggs. The other two easter eggs are cheat codes I used for testing purposes. One of them is a reference from Alchemist's Apprentice, and the other is a secret code that's part of gaming lore...

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So what's the blue-babbler language?

I'd love it if there was a way to mute the background music without killing the language/building sound effects. That hyper Christmas mishmash really gets on my nerves. (Might have something to do with the fact that I despise most Christmas music in general.) Then again, the only game I've played (found on this site) that has a repetitive background music theme that I actually LIKE is the Fancy Pants Adventure. For some reason, that one doesn't get old.

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Ah, sorry, guess I hadn't refreshed my page to see the new comments ... Norwegian, eh?

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So far, this is my favorite of all the entries. It's very cute, fun to play, and not too hard to figure out.

But on level 2, I got the thumbs up after only constructing one tower... I think it was a bug...

Despite the bug I experienced, I loved it.

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larsiusprime, thanks for clearing up the ending a bit. I'm Buddhist, and we perform prostrations daily (108 x is the usual number). In our faith, we make the gesture towards images that represent the ideals we are striving to live (compassion, forgiveness, etc.) as well as single prostrations to other people. It's sort of a "here I am, at your service, I offer you complete respect" kind of gesture. Forgiveness, penitance, and an open heart

It was very nice to hear about a different religion that uses the same gestures - and a lovely game to boot! Thanks for making my day! :-D

Love,
Ms. Merricat

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Well, Ms. Merricat, Orthodox Christianity is in fact an Eastern Religion- so it's not surprising that despite theological differences, we probably share a lot of rituals!

And yes, your description of prostration has more or less the same meaning as ours. We will do prostrations before others (for instance, at forgiveness vespers, a service on the night right before lent), before the Holy Icons, and so on.

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Also, thanks for the kind words :) Anytime I make something religious and post it on the internet, I'm always afraid some random angry person will tell me how much they hate it.

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Batamtig March 1, 2007 1:10 AM

Well I try to be neither random nor angry, as a Jew, the ending did make me feel a little weird - like maybe I'd been participating in some Christian proselytizing. (I once got caught playing a game that had an overt conversion message at the end).

Loved the biblical theme though :)

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Yeah, I know what you mean. The Orthodox mentality is that if people want to come to the church, we'll answer their questions and let them know we exist and what we believe, but we try not to thump people over the head with hard-sell evangelism tactics, because they never work anyway.

Glad you liked the game!

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antialias Author Profile Page March 1, 2007 4:13 AM

How do you build green blocks?

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Miranda March 1, 2007 1:56 PM

what looks green is really blue... I thought it was green too then I just tried blue

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can someone explain those cheats? the crosses?

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*sorry for douple post*

also, is there a way to pause? can you let it sit at the start of a lvl?

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Fun and cute. Follows the instructions well, and the music is happy and repetitive without being annoying. Took me a while to figure out what I was supposed to do, but once I did, it was relatively easy. Follows the instructions well.

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!!!

That's Lemmings music!

The awesomeness of this game just increased exponentially. And for one that was already highly entertaining, very clever, and quite fun, that is bad news for the other contestants.

It's the Lemmings music that does it.

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Woah:

Instant salvation with the Konami Code... Or instant Armageddon, if you take the hubris-worship interpretation... (Look it up on Wikipedia if you don't know how it goes)

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Very fun game. It'd be great if there were more levels, but since they're random I suppose I could just replay it. Maybe if there was a sequel it could include more intricate patterns (possibly stacking blocks over two blocks to form a pyramid or something) and other different colors introduced in higher levels to make it harder. Maybe there could even be themed levels - a water level where you need to build extra towers on the sides to block sharks or something.

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that is a sweet game

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Thanks for the hint Jay, I didn't realise that there was a

code of some sort to follow. I hadn't clicked on that side of the screen and just jumped straight into making towers. My mistake!

Great game Lars! It was great to get it right, yay God for being happy with me :D

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Um.. Questions...

Where are these "easter eggs"

and

I dont understand the game at all.

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it sure looks like they're getting zapped in the end :) If they went up to heaven like Enoch or Elijah, then they wouldn't have left a grave behind.

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Grow is great, but try a Devolve game. Ripping senses asunder. Digging down to the lowest common denominator. (No, not sex. Further.)

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A trabajar!

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So, uh, how do you access the easter eggs, anyway? *is terrible at finding them*

And how do you spell what the Norwegian Babblers say? "Let's get to work" and "Go away" for the English speakers, "A trabajar!" and "Vayate" (?) for the Spanish speakers. I thought I also heard something that sounds like "get over here" ... not sure (:

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I feel like a moron... I have gotten to the sign where it says "the answer is right under your feet or something along those lines" and I have hound the green stepping stones but I cant do anything else I have no idea what to do help please.

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ok ive gotten past the green blocks that spell dog but now I dont know what to do with the big snake that keeps killing me, ive tried everything and I have no idea what to do...

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I don't know what you're talking about. I finished the whole game by building towers. Nice ending.

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I was just going over some old favourites, and came across this game again. It's still as sweet and fun as when I first played it.

While reading the poetry and hymns at the end (1 in each language), I realized the Spanish was "No me mueve, mi Dios." It's a lovely hymn, and there's a beautiful rendition on it on YouTube (voice and guitar). Thought I'd share the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnWHYV4sSTc

(and, in case I copied that wrong, look for "No me mueve, mi Dios (Soneto a Cristo crucificado)", on the channel of "Alaberthus")

Hope you like.

Namaste.

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