One of the best turn-based brainteasers I have come across, Babala is a great and fiendishly difficult freeware puzzler by Czech author Pavel Richter. If you love games in the DROD series, you will likely enjoy this underdog as well. In Babala, your goal is to defeat a large army of enemies on each level that will do their best to hunt you down. Fortunately, you can shoot or place mines on each turn to kill them first. The catch is that there is a balance between the number of moves and shooting/mining that you must determine: the more you move, the less shots/mines you can take. A more detailed description from the game's website follows: |
"Babala is a simple logical game with elements of move strategy. At the start of the contest, the enemy figures "Balabaks" are situated on the playing field. Balabaks' behavior is simple: he moves straight towards you, going around any obstructions he may encounter. Balabak must not reach you, or else you lose. Each turn/round is made up of some moves (max.5), or of shots and/or placing mines (max.5). Take particular note of these limitations for moving/shooting combined in a turn: 1/5, 2/4, 3/4, 4/3 and 5/1. That's key to the contest, and worth memorizing (but there's a readout along the bottom to help you keep track). After taking the actions you elect, you end your turn, at which time the Balabaks make their moves.
Your task is to dispose of all Balabaks. In order to do this, you must choose suitable movements or shots, which won't be so easy. You may have to shoot through a wall at Balabaks, and you have a limited numbers of shots. If you don't have enough munitions then you must tempt Balabaks into a trap. You can conserve one shot by laying a mine for a red Balabak, which is otherwise a two-shot kill. The munitions you're supplied to begin each level will vary greatly, so check the readout along the bottom to assess your arsenal.
Babala's defining features are described in the game's legend. These are a handful of special squares: devices of help or hindrance, as may befall. They are explained as you go along... ultra simple. Scoring is based on how few rounds you needed to completely dispose of the enemy, as compared to an estimated average for that particular level. A bonus is added based on the level's difficulty ranking. You can replay a level as many times as you want before advancing. The software automatically takes your best score achieved (termed your score of record) to add into the game total. Saving is all automatic, so you can quit the game any time; eg. between replays."
Like all great puzzle games, Babala must be played to be appreciated. Excellent game concepts and level designs more than make up for amateurish graphics. The game currently has over 120 levels, and it is being regularly updated by its author. Two thumbs up, way up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs