ReviewsReview: The Library of Babel

Review: The Library of Babel


- Advertisement -

Games that are born from ancient texts are hit-and-miss. Usually, a heap of creative licence undermines the originality, and you are left somewhat confused. Moreover, as the new creation zooms off on a trajectory often unknown, the original ideas become lost in the mire. The Library of Babel balances a sci-fi experience with Jorge Luis Borges’ 1941 short story. Consequently, you experience a strange blend of classic writing and Hollywood sparkle.

Developed by Tanuki Game Studio and Neon Doctrine and published by the latter, this is a platform title. What’s more, it incorporates stealth elements and a Metroidvania-lite experience. Accordingly, there is plenty of back-and-forth action, many head-scratching moments, and the requirement to find certain objects or complete set goals before you move on. Therefore, its semi-rigid approach won’t be appreciated by everyone that has a go.

Make sure that you time every jump correctly.
Time those jumps correctly.

The Library of Babel overloaded me with lore. 

The Library of Babel pushes mountains of rich lore and wonderful detail from the off. This incredible storytelling was overpowering and overwhelming, but amazing at the same time. With a dramatic tale to tell, and weird robotic denizens to appease, you are chucked in at the deep end. However, if you can wade through the sea of facts and subplots, you’ll enjoy a fantasy sci-fi experience that wonderfully sets the scene. 

Humanity became extinct 20,000 years ago. In their place, robotic beings continue the mindless violence and destruction of their human counterparts. You control Ludovik, a seeker that has been sent to Babylon to investigate a murder. Here, he discovers an insane cult controlled by Colonel Kabor. These crazy cultists spout nonsense about the truth and will stop at nothing to spread their illicit gospel. Yet, you cannot allow them to continue. Instead, you must infiltrate their bases, gather information, and stop them once and for all.

Classic mechanics and plenty of stealth. 

The Library of Babel has some fantastic and well-considered mechanics hiding behind its familiar shell. At first glance, this looks like any other platform/Metroidvania title. However, once you dig a bit deeper, you’ll enjoy a stealthy endeavour that tests your patience and your resolve. Furthermore, there are minor puzzle elements, some platform sections that lean on quick reflexes, and plenty of collectables to find. 

The stealth element sits at the fore as you explore a range of deadly locations. By hiding behind bushes, crawling between crates, and staying in the shadows, you keep out of trouble. Yet, if you are seen, you are blown into a million pieces. No matter how great the hero is, he is weak as piss. Subsequently, one shot to the face kills him. Luckily, though, checkpoints are plentiful and progress is rarely hindered. Accordingly, death is more annoying than anything, as there is minimal impact.

Make sure that you listen to every instruction.
How can I serve you?

The action is painfully slow. 

I adored the cold and mechanical setting and the rich environments. Whether I was exploring a mountain, a dank cave, or a creepy wood, it never got old. Yet, the freedom to explore is held back by the painfully slow stealth mechanics. Each of your red-cloaked foes meanders along a fixed path. Whilst their back is turned, you must scurry between an array of obstacles to stay hidden. Yet, if you are spotted, you are executed, and the task begins again. 

This concept was theoretically enjoyable. But in reality, it was too slow, and this created a voyeuristic atmosphere. Furthermore, though there was a sense of drama and danger, layers of frustration undermined much of the action. Consequently, I played this casually to ensure that I didn’t get bored with what I saw. 

The Library of Babel is a gruesome but cold title. 

Though the core concept frustrated me, I adored the presentation. The strange world, grim imagery, and cold robotic characters were great to look at. Additionally, the excellent stage design, interesting platforming elements, and timely puzzles helped to alleviate the tedium. What’s more, the odd religious symbols and eerie temples were fascinating to look at. Accordingly, the developers have done a great job of incorporating Borges’ ideas into this futuristic affair.

The creepy atmosphere is enhanced by the excellent audio. As such, the slow soundtrack supports the stealthy moments. Furthermore, the odd upbeat track adds to the drama, especially when you are exploring previously unseen locations. Alongside this, the basic sound effects are shrill and in keeping with the futuristic theme.

Ride the lift to a destination unknown.
Where will this go?

Jump, jump, jump, and miss. 

Whenever you are undertaking a time-specific task, you need the controls to be on point. The Library of Babel mostly gets its inputs spot on. However, occasionally, the hitbox between platforms is wayward. Accordingly, you’ll jump and miss repeatedly. As a consequence, the cultists see you, and you get shot from the air like a clay pigeon. Fortunately, though, with copious amounts of checkpoints at your disposal, this shortcoming doesn’t impact your progress too much.

Thanks to the large amount of collectables, and the slow action, you’ll enjoy between 10 and 15 hours of gameplay. However, the one-dimensional stealth element should have evolved alongside the varying environments. Because the core ideas are so rigid, the action becomes monotonous, and this impacts replay value and longevity.

The Library of Babel needed more strings to its bow. 

There is plenty to admire when you look at The Library of Babel. The world is fascinating; the characters are compelling and cold, and the platform elements expand the world by adding height and depth. However, the key stealth concept fails to evolve. Subsequently, this holds the game back from reaching its potential. Additionally, the controls weren’t as tight as they should have been, and this was frustrating. Despite these shortcomings, I still recommend that you buy it here! Can you complete your mission? Eliminate the cultists, help the locals, and discover the truth behind the murder. 


The Library of Babel is a lore-rich stealth adventure title. What's more, it incorporates some Metroidvania mechanics to add a layer of difficulty. However, its slow gameplay and confusing text make it challenging to play. Accordingly, it doesn't reach its potential and that was disappointing.

+ It looks great.
+ Creepy and atmospheric audio.
+ The platforming elements worked well.
+ An interesting idea.
+ The world was fun to explore.

- The stealth mechanics were lacklustre.
- Each element of lore was confusing.
- I wanted the controls to be better.

(Rating: PEGI 12 Moderate Violence Release date: 07/04/2023 Price: £15.74)

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Xbox One, PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5)

Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay connected



You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

<p class="has-text-align-justify" style="font-size:14px"><em>The Library of Babel</em> is a lore-rich stealth adventure title. What's more, it incorporates some Metroidvania mechanics to add a layer of difficulty. However, its slow gameplay and confusing text make it challenging to play. Accordingly, it doesn't reach its potential and that was disappointing.</p><br/> + It looks great.<br/> + Creepy and atmospheric audio.<br/> + The platforming elements worked well.<br/> + An interesting idea.<br/> + The world was fun to explore.<br/> <br/> - The stealth mechanics were lacklustre.<br/> - Each element of lore was confusing.<br/> - I wanted the controls to be better.<br/> <br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(<b>Rating:</b> PEGI 12 Moderate Violence <b>Release date:</b> 07/04/2023 <b>Price:</b> £15.74)</p><br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Xbox One, PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5)</p><br/>Review: The Library of Babel