Alphabear is the latest game from Spry Fox, the minds behind the popular match three game Triple Town. The adorable bears are back, but Alphabear is an all new word spelling, mobile puzzle game. Available worldwide for iOS and Android, it’s as addictive as it is adorable.
Simple to learn, there’s still a surprising amount of strategy incorporated into Alphabear. The core of the game is spelling words and accruing points by doing so, a la Scrabble. Players spell words by selecting letters on a grid. When the letters are used, they free up space and that’s where the bears come into play.
Bears fill up open spaces and grow dynamically larger as more space on the grid becomes available. This adds another layer of strategy to the game because the larger the bear, the more points you’ll earn. Each letter has a pre-determined number of turns to be used in the spelling of a word, and if you don’t use it in the allotted time, it will turn into a rock. If a rock separates spaces on the grid, you’ll end up with a bunch of little bears instead of one high scoring big bear. For such a simple set of mechanics, this adds a lot of strategy.
There are two types of challenges in Alphabear. First is a basic big board mode where you can take your time filling up the grid and try to maximize your score. Second, in timed mode it’s all about trying to use as many letters in a word as possible as quickly as possible. Each day there’s a slightly different challenge, such as certain letters being banned. Taking the challenges into account will change up how you play each game.
Perhaps the most endearing element of Alphabear are the adorable bears that can be collected throughout the game. Meeting the point goal in a game will unlock a bear with their own special perks to help players. Three bears can be chosen before each game, and if you earn a bear that you’ve already discovered, it will get a bigger bonus than it used to have.
When you are rewarded with a bear, it snaps a selfie and writes a phrase using some of the words you spelled during the game, impressively and sometimes hilariously inserting them Mad-Libs style into a sentence. Players can share their bear selfies and phrases on social media, adding a fun interactive element.
Each chapter of gameplay has an overarching theme, such as monsters. Cute names are given to the challenges and thematically appropriate bears can be discovered during certain games, such as a mummy bear or zombie bear during the monster chapter. The general bear theme is carried over into the paywall mechanics, which softens the sting a little.
There are two types of in-game currency, honey, which is payed for every game you enter, and coins. Each bear in your collection takes a nap after they’re used in a game, and coins can be used to wake them up, as well as pay for entry into special treasure events. Coins can be purchased with real money and a small sum is earned after playing a game.
Honey can be earned by watching ads or by spending coins. Everlasting Honey can be purchased for $4.99 and is virtually like paying for the full version of the game. You can’t buy bears or any other perk that will help you win the game.
Alphabear’s touch controls work well, the graphics are great, and the gameplay is an innovative twist on your basic spelling puzzle game. The accompanying music is nice and had me humming along and swaying in my seat. Social media is cleverly integrated with the bear selfies.
Those that enjoy spelling games like Scrabble or Ruzzle should absolutely download Alphabear. For those that are tired of in-game purchases, I recommend buying the Everlasting Honey. This game is super cute and super addictive, give it a try.
This game was obtained by the reviewer and reviewed on a Samsung Galaxy S4.
Alphabear’s touch controls work well, the graphics are great and the gameplay is an innovative twist on your basic spelling puzzle game. As adorable as it is addictive, there's even an option to buy unlimited in-game currency which helps cut down on most of the paywall waiting.