There used to be a joke that every game was turning into a Fortnite-style battle royale, and here to make that bit a reality is Babble Royale, a new Scrabble-style competitive online multiplayer game from designer Frank Lantz’s Everybody House Games (best known for Universal Paperclips and Hey Robot).
Despite the fact that it feels like a joke meant to clown on Fortnite, PUGB, and other last-person-standing games in the genre, Babble Royale is very much a real game, currently available on Steam in early access for both PC and Mac.
Players parachute their beginning tile down into a grid (yes, actually), claiming a spot for themselves to start building words (as you would in Scrabble or Bananagrams) to expand outwards and eliminate other players. As you explore the map, you can spell your way onto tiles to pick up powerups or purchase additional upgrades using money gained by spelling bigger words. As time goes on, a “hot zone” will slowly creep in from the corner of the map, damaging or eliminating players from contention until only one speller reigns supreme.
And of course, there are optional cosmetics available to purchase to customize your character (i.e., the letter you parachute in with) with different patterns or hats. Yes, seriously.
I tried playing a few rounds of Babble Royale, but while the concept is fun as a high-brow joke on the genre, I bounced off pretty hard on the actual gameplay. You can only play new letters off the last word that you spelled, which means that longtime Scrabble players will have to seriously think about how they play. There were also times where I just was plain stuck, walled in by existing words but unable to play any real ones of my own, leaving me to sit around until the game cleared out some of the map.
But for those who like competitive word games and don’t mind taking the time to adjust to Babble Royale’s new strategies and idiosyncrasies, the new title is certainly one of the cleverest spins on the concept so far. The initial launch of Babble Royale is also still in “Season Zero” as an early access launch, with more features and content planned for the future, too.
Babble Royale is available to download for free now on Steam.