I was contacted the other day by Lee Jeong-Mi, the developer of Tree of Babylon asking if I would check out her game and write about it. She is a one-person dev team from Seoul, South Korea who felt that the Oculus Store seemed to cater largely to males and she wanted to change that. “I need to see something beautiful on my Gear VR ” she said.
She’s not wrong either. A quick survey of the Browse All section on the Oculus Store page shows that there are not a lot of games that would typically considered feminine, but then, what exactly is feminine when you are talking about video games? I don’t know a lot of girls who really enjoy video games, but the ones I do know who are gamers enjoy many of the same games that guys do such as Gears of War, Mass Effect, Tomb Raider and so on. But who knows? Maybe all this time they have wished they could play something gentler and prettier.
The rest of the girls I know, the non-gamer ones, if they play games at all, they seem to prefer casual puzzle games where the challenge isn’t so much about skillful dexterity but rather quick wits and smart thinking. I’m not sure which of these groups would be the target audience as Tree of Babylon is very much a casual, puzzle-type game, but it’s pretty difficult too.
In Tree of Babylon you are tasked with growing a tree that has a giant key on top of it and reaching the massive keyhole floating high above the playing field. This is done by firing balls at fish of different shapes that come out of the water surrounding the tree. Diamond shaped fish rotate the tree with blue diamonds rotating in one direction and yellow diamonds rotating the other. There are white diamonds as well but I was not able to figure out what they did as shooting them had no discernible effect. There are also hearts which cause the tree to grow, unless they are black hearts which cause your tree to fall down and, depending on how tall your tree was, may cause your window to have a Gear VR shaped hole in it.
What makes this difficult is that there is a giant naked woman, called the naked queen, walking in circles around the tree and the tree grows toward her. Thus, growing the tree becomes a bit of a balancing act. You have to grow the tree and rotate it so that overall, it grows up, rather than out. This might sound easy, but I found it pretty difficult, and honestly, at times, frustrating. Often I found that the tree fell because all I was getting was hearts and white diamonds when I really needed a blue or yellow diamond, but it is entirely possible that I just suck at this game.
As the description suggests there is a small twist at the end of the game. When I started writing this review I actually had not seen it yet, nor did I think that I would. I had given up. But I wanted to check on something and so I popped it back in and managed to finish it on my first attempt. I’m pretty sure I just got lucky. I’m glad I did though because I wanted to know what the twist was. That kind of thing just bothers me. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but I will say that I get it, it fits with the game and what she is trying to do with it. It’s pretty. I personally didn’t find it very satisfying, but then again, I’m not the target audience.
Tree of Life takes a mechanic that we are all familiar with, that of the turret shooter, and gives it a twist. Two of them in fact; a twisting tree and a twist ending. It’s a game that says it will take about five minutes and that is how long the game was today when I beat it. Overall I probably put about half an hour into it. I’m not sure that I would have if I weren’t reviewing it. After five minutes, whether you win or not, you get it. I wasn’t drawn in by the style but I’m also someone who prefers bright primary colours rather than overcast skies and murkey waters. The jiggling boobs on the naked queen were interesting for a few minutes but after too long my chest began to hurt and I wanted to give her a bra. The game is free, so by all means download it and see what I mean. Even though she is naked, I wouldn’t call it nudity. She has form only, no details. Having said that I’m still not entirely sure if I would let my kids play it, nor would I watch a video of gameplay while at work. They are some active boobs.
As I say, the game is free and it definitely feels more like an art project than a game. The designer herself said that it was meant to cater to women rather than men. I think I would like to get a girl or two to try it out and see what they think of it. In fact, that’s what I’m going to do. Once I have a female’s input I will give the game a final score. In the meantime, if it sounds even remotely interesting, download it and give it a shot. Support this solitary developer who is doing something different and trying to bring more girls into VR and gaming. I think we can all agree that that is a good thing.
- Comfort Level 90%
- Graphics 65%
- Sound 65%
- Difficulty 80%
- Fun Factor 50%
- Overall (Not Yet Rated) 0%
Daryle Henry | Dads And Dragons