The problem with trying to tell people about Spry Fox’s Alphabear is stopping playing long enough to do so—at least in any form besides random tweets.
Normally I am not a big fan of mobile games that encourage users to post Twitter or Facebook updates, but every now and then there are exceptions.
That’s one of four or five of these little messages I’ve posted to Twitter over the past few days. They pop up at the end of a round of Alphabear, taking random words the player builds during the game and inserting them in pre-built sentences, sort of like Madlibs.
I suppose folks probably want to know what the game is about; how it works, that sort of thing.
I guess I can talk about that.
Alphabear is a game about using letters to make words. It is also a game about collecting adorable bears designed by Brent “Meowza” Kobayashi, a Canadian artist whose work includes Spry Fox’s delightful Road Not Taken and the unfortunate browser-based MMO Glitch.
Players choose a game type—there are daily untimed big board rounds and 90 second blitz rounds, along with boss battles and treasure hunts. Each round opens with letters on a field. Make words from those letters and bears appear, along with more letters. Make words from those letters and the bears grow. Use letters before they count down or they turn to stone and impede progress.
Use all of the letters in a round and your bear ends up looking like this.
At the end of each round, should you reach the score goal, you are rewarded with a bear.
These bears are not merely ornamental. Each has special skills, adding to the score multiplier, making certain letters appear more often or stay on the play field longer. At the beginning of each round the player selects up to three of these bears to augment their game. At the end those bears rest for a set amount of time—common bears reset in minutes, more powerful bears take hours or even days.
Spell words, earn bears, tweet bears. Or maybe Facebook bears. Collect and share bears while increasing your vocabulary. Bears, bears, bears.
Alphabear is a free game, only it really isn’t. There is an energy component to the free version involving honey that recharges over time. There is a $4.99 one-time purchase that takes away that restriction. You will either hate this game, or you will spend $4.99 as soon as possible. I have spent $4.99. Hence all the tweeting.
Spry Fox continues its fine tradition of making adorable games that gently cuddle your soul and never let go. Triple Town. Panda Poet, which is sort of a competitive precursor to Alphabear. Road Not Taken. They make great games—with bears. This is one of those. You should play it.
Genre: Words with bears
Developer: Spry Fox
Price: Free, but secretly $4.99