To be perfectly honest, I’m really surprised there weren’t a rash of buxomly built action babe games released after Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet, but the only one that really surfaced was Babeorella. Given that the two have similar mechanics I thought I’d see how the pair stacked up against each other. Besides, every once in a while I need to write a review of a game where I can slip in some gratuitous joke or another without feeling too bad, because it really falls in line with the content. As for the game itself, there’s actually quite a bit to like, and there are even some positives about the controls, but in the end the small virtual joystick is lousy when you need to run away, and the lack of any game levels gets old after a while.
Basically you play Babeorella, who happens to be on a quest to crush alien robots of all shapes and sizes. She’ll do this with everything from a whip to a hammer, and a lot of firepower to boot (and her boots, for that matter). You’ll spend your time running around a fairly contained area, demolishing everything in sight and collecting power ups as they arise. Every killed robot earns you experience points, and you can also collect XP boosters from one of the various power up spawn points on the board (I think aliens might leave them as well on occasion). These XP points allow you to upgrade things such as long and short range attacks, as well as maximum health and number of bombs you can have.
In addition to earning XP you can earn awards, which are basically the home grown equivalent of OpenFeint achievements. Earn enough awards and you can unlock new outfits for Babeorella. Finally there are the challenges, which for a while are the most interesting part of the game. When you get a challenge you have a certain amount of time in which you must earn enough XP to upgrade a particular stat. If you are able to beat the challenge you’ll earn a multiplier on your XP, which in turn helps you earn stats more quickly. It’s pretty gimmicky, and actually quite cool for a while, but I’d imagine if it helped you earn all of your upgrades too quickly you’d be at a loss for more to do. Fortunately I haven’t hit that dilemma yet.
To move Babeorella you have a virtual joystick in the lower left corner of the screen. This works pretty well for the first few waves, but when the action gets intense and you need to run a lot the control suffers big time from the “slip factor”, the problem where you slide your finger too far and suddenly the joystick isn’t responding any more. You have two strengths of attack – light and heavy – and three ranges for each (short, medium and long). Each attack strength is controlled with one button, and the range is determined by the distance between you and the enemy. This means you must be facing the enemy, unlike the traditional dual stick shooter where you can rotate your weapon as appropriate. Otherwise I like the fact that you don’t have to worry about switching weapons.
Visually Babeorella looks really nice – and I am talking about the game as a whole. Babeorella can definitely hold her own against Daisy Mae, and the robots look pretty cool, though not as nifty as the alien entries from the buffet. Animations are well done, and the background is nifty. The big problem is lack of variety. The game needs more robot types, and it would be really nice she moved to a new locale every few waves. This could also help vary the game play a bit, as different terrains present new challenges. The sound effects are decent enough. Some things like the heavy gun powering up sound pretty cool, and other things like the hammer noises are almost comical. The music is good, but like the background it could use a change every once in a while.
I have somewhat mixed emotions on Babeorella. On one hand, the virtual joystick really drives me nuts. The button configuration as opposed to virtual joystick has its issues as well, especially when you’re being swarmed from all sides. The game can even get kind of stale with only 5 robot types and one backdrop. On the flip side, I can still find myself coming back to this game until such time as I’ve managed to win all the awards and unlock the three corresponding costumes. Still, that experience would be much more pleasant if the items in the rest of this paragraph were addressed.