The Hanging Gardens
Developed by Suricate Games, Babylonia belongs to the Match-3 genre. This game takes you back to a time in the dim and distant past when King Nebuchadnezzar ruled the grand city and kingdom of Babylon. It was on his orders that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were created. These Gardens were given, as a gift, to Nebuchadnezzar beloved wife, Amyitis. The construction of the Hanging Gardens delighted the goddess Ishtar who was impressed by the splendour of this artificial oasis.
Unfortunately, as time went by, Nebuchadnezzar became more interested in making conquests to widen his kingdom. As a result the Hanging Gardens were neglected and fell into ruin. This fall from grace upset Ishtar so much that she punished the King by inflicting a series of cataclysmic earthquakes and swarms of pests on the land. The once wondrous gardens faded into the shadows of ancient history. Now you have the opportunity to restore the Gardens to their former glory through the completion of numerous Match-3 grids in the game of Babylonia.
Prior to venturing into the game of Babylonia, you can create profiles for individual players. These profiles will hold the progress of the player and contain the volume levels for music, sound effects and ambience. You also have the choice of playing the game in full screen or windows mode.
The game of Babylonia uses familiar style grids filled with tiles embossed with symbols that are appropriate to the game’s garden subject matter. You need to create groups of three or more matches of similar tiles by transposing two adjacent tiles. The matched tiles then disappear and are replaced by other tiles falling downwards while any underlying elements, such as chains or coloured areas that might be there, are removed.
One final task will need to be completed at the end of each grid. An amulet will appear at the top of the grid. You will need to manipulate this amulet to the bottom of the grid by removing all the tiles that are supporting it.
Along with different coloured flower symbols, coins of various value will appear from time to time. Once clicked on, these coins will then be added to the resources you build up to complete various tasks such as rebuilding the structure of the Gardens and any replanting and care of the flowers populating the grounds. These actions become available at the conclusion of each grid when you will also have access to the game’s Shop facility. Items available from the Shop include a Spell Book, Gamble Box and a Treasure Chest for holding your resources.
As you complete the various grids you can earn yourself some helpful tools. By creating a match of four tiles, you get a rainbow flower which acts in wildcard mode and can be used to create a matched group. If you manage to create a matched group made up of five tiles then your reward will be a Helix. This particular tool, once activated with a mouse click, will remove all the tiles that share its row. You can also build up a hammer tool which, depending upon its current strength it has built up, can remove either a single tile or all the tiles bearing a similar symbol.
Although most of the action in this game might appear to involve the various Match-3 grid play, you do need to keep a close watch on the restoration of the Hanging Gardens aspect which is the whole point of the game. Remember Ishtar, the goddess, and how she reacted when Nebuchadnezzar neglected the Gardens? You quickly learn that she is a hard task master when it comes to the condition of her beloved Hanging Gardens. If Ishtar is displeased with the progress of the condition of the Hanging Gardens then her anger will take over and she will destroy elements that have only just been added to the structure. You also need to ensure any flowers planted are well cared for with the application of plenty of water and pesticides otherwise they will die and upset Ishtar.
I found this aspect of the game to be rather annoying. It forced me to change the way I would normally tackle such a game. Rather than building up my resources for a big splurge of development, I was forced to make more minor regular contributions to the redevelopment of the Gardens in order to keep Ishtar happy. However this aspect did make Babylonia a more challenging title than other games in this genre.
My copy of the game was downloaded from Gamehouse.com where it is available for $9.99. System requirements call for a 600MHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 52MB of hard disk space running Windows XP and later.
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