Developer: Rad Dragon
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★½☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Combining a word game with a music game seems like a concept that should be more popular than it is. Both genres involve a certain amount of rhythm in order to succeed so it makes sense, right? Alphabeats is one such game that combines both genres and it does a reasonable job of doing so; if only the controls were more user friendly.

alphabeats4Simple to set up, Alphabeats is a matter of picking one of six songs (more can be purchased) then getting straight down to word creation. Letters come down the screen, much like notes in a music game. You then have to drag a cursor from side to side to hover under the letter you want to grab before repeating the action again until you’ve formed a word. The tricky part is dodging the letters you don’t want to use, which soon proves awkward for those trying to create long words.

Power-ups help to an extent, enabling you to shrink words so they take up less space, as well as a trusty multiplier bonus, and a bomb to clear useless letters. These power-ups are activated through gestures that are quite intuitive if a little fiddly to perform when rushed. Three difficulty levels ensure there’s no chance of Alphabeats ever becoming too easy either, with the likes of Spellfire being especially fearsome.

alphabeats5The other challenge comes from the sliding mechanism, as it’s quite awkward. You can only move it when you’re directly touching it, rather than being able to slide around the full screen. The game’s all done from a landscape perspective so that means the bar is quite low down. It would have been so much more convenient to be able to move around wherever one’s finger is, but alas that’s not the case here.

It’s unfortunate that this proves infuriating for Alphabeats players, as it’s a cool idea otherwise. Accept the awkward placement of the bar and soon enough longer and more impressive words come together, but it’s a shame that Alphabeats still feels a little unwelcoming to players who want more flexibility.

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