Babel stages consists of a falling series of walls, with each wall falling one step away from the camera relative to the currently furthest block on the play area.
The next wall will fall when Vincent reaches steps from the currently highest surface. This is an important mechanic for Obelisk and Axis Mundi.
Contrary to popular belief, the blocks are not completely random. Each level (the numerical value within the stage) consists of a finite number of possible wall designs, which are randomly picked, and the interaction between two subsequent walls are what 'randomizes' the play area and calls for improvisation.
(This is unofficial terminology used for the purpose of this guide for standardization and communication between different contributors)
- Wall - One set of blocks that fall together in a predetermined pattern
- Landing - The top surface of a wall
- Solution - Method used to traverse up a single wall while doing the least damage to the next landing
- Joint - The connection between the landing and the bottom row of the next wall
- Pull-out - pulling a block out of a wall to make a solution or part of it
- Babel Technique - A solution, or part of a solution, that can be applied to a specific formation of blocks. Similar to the Techniques taught in-game, but unofficial, and more suited to making sense of the randomness of Babel while taking advantage of certain precedents/commonly recurring patterns.
- Fitting - A subset of Techniques that involve sculpting the bottom of a wall in a way that it falls to make a seamless joint with the current landing. Some sections of Babel can only be solved by mastery of these techniques, i.e. the final dozen steps of Menhir.
- The most important thing to realize is, as stated above, the blocks are not completely random. Each Babel stage is designed with a small number of wall variations per level, where each possible combination has a solution, as long as the landing hasn't been collapsed too much. The game's designers made it possible for each combination of two subsequent walls to be solved.
- By sticking to solutions that preserve the integrity of the next landing, Babel becomes at least 3/4 pattern recognition/execution and only requires a small bit of improvisation. If things go south, it was probably a mistake earlier on that screwed up the current landing. For this reason Menhir may be a better place to start due to its small wall size and solve-it-or-lose-immediately design.
- If sacrificing part of the next landing is necessary because of pull-out choices, preserve the part of the next landing that is the flattest, has no cracked blocks, or is towards the center of the play area.
- Learn Babel Techniques and scan small areas of the play area for recognizable patterns. This is what keeps it manageable.
This is a bread-and-butter basic technique. The general rule is that if a landing is 3 blocks up, and you have a landing 2 blocks wide, as long as there is a pull-out candidate on the penultimate row that is 1 column away from your current landing (block A), you have a solution.
This technique is important as a large fraction of walls in Babel are only 4 blocks high. This means that if you can pull-out two blocks and line them up side by side, you'll be able to use that to 2x3 to the next landing. The choice of which block B to use depends solely on preserving the integrity of the next landing.
This technique is also pretty useful for the starting section of Menhir.
Cracked blocks generally shouldn't matter in most cases because you only are in each position a maximum of two times before proceeding to the next landing.
Inazuma in the game is taught as a means of traversing up a 3-column wall indefinitely. What's important to note is that you do not need a landing 3 blocks wide to work off from, nor does the entire wall need to be 3 blocks wide either. As long as:
- There are two pull-outs on the same columns as your current landing
- The wall a row above is one step to the left or right
the wall can be traversed up indefinitely.
This is done by pulling out the block opposite from the direction to go first, creating a new 2-block landing, rinse, repeat. It also has the benefit of being extremely stable, and transitions into a 2x3 once the next landing is within reach.
This is a Fitting-type technique used to deal with a very commonly recurring patterns in Menhir, recognizable by the shape of the red blocks. Pull out block A and the rest of the wall falls to make a nice joint.
While this may seem like an obvious technique, another important thing to take note of is if your current landing is only 2 blocks wide as opposed to 3 as shown in the diagram, this technique still works. When you pull out block A, the entire wall shifts down and then 2x3 becomes a viable solution to the next landing (since most walls are only 4 blocks high)
This technique works best on narrow walls, as additional blocks off to the left and right may prevent the next wall from falling neatly down in one piece.
An elaboration of the Middle Finger technique. This landing configuration is very common when an empty space exists between two blocks at the top of a wall (A and B in diagram) and a bottom block from the next wall falls down into the hole (C in diagram). Any Menhir video on Youtube is guaranteed to show this multiple times, and it is useful on some configurations towards the end of Altar.
Similarly to the Middle Finger, this technique requires the subsequent wall to fall down in one piece, hence it works best on narrow walls.
Push A and B out sideways, then pull-out C. Subsequently, another of the red blocks can be pulled out, creating a 3-block landing 1 row up.
If the original landing is only 2 blocks wide instead of 3, transitioning into a 2x3 or Econ Inazuma can complete the solution.
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