Alphabytes Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on May 13th, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Alphabytes is a fun and educational iPad app that teaches letters with a nice theme of alphabet cereal and milk. There are four sections included, such as an alphabet section where every letter is depicted with a word, illustration and an interactive aspect that kids will enjoy. One can also learn basic spelling of words as a player taps alphabet letters scattered across the screen, with the correct letters will popping into corresponding letter boxes that make up the word in question. Letters not part of this word will be gobbled up by the player when tapped. There is a matching game where one makes pairs of words and their letter partners, and a tracing game is also included.

My son enjoys this app and asks for it by name. He likes the spelling game very much, having fun tapping both the correct letters for these word puzzles as well as eating up random letters also on the screen which are not part of the word, but has had some difficulty finding specific letters in a sea of unneeded ones, something that he now rectifies by tapping and eating the ones that are in the way and not useful.

My boy also spends time going through each interaction in the alphabet section; they have a lot to offer, including some of his favorite things such as taking bites of a doughnut with the tap of a finger, hammering nails into wood or moving gears with the slide of a finger for the letter “G.” I also like the way the main page of this section looks, as one can choose any letter, represented by alphabet cereal letters floating in a bowl of milk.

The tracing section is nice as the letters are big and chunky, ideal for little fingers, and it is nice that one can choose upper or lower case letters. The strokes commonly used to make up these letters are numbered, and an arrow is included pointing in the direction one should be making these strokes, ultimately fully tracing the chosen letter. I like these extra hints which are helpful in explaining the correct way to print these letters, but like many tracing apps, one can “cheat” and just randomly drag a finger over this template until it is filled in enough that it registers as correct. I do wish this app was capable of recognizing correctly printed letters as well, not just congratulating the player for filling in the template any way they see fit.

The matching game is very good as it does something most matching games do not do: it gives one the option of needing to flip over cards in the interest of making pairs - here letter and word combinations, but you also have the option of playing this game face up as well, seeing what there is to be paired without memorizing anything. The best part about this section is that one can let the child see the answer side for a few seconds if you wish and then play the memory game face down, even flipping everything back over again for another when the child is feeling stuck. I really like how this is done here, as my son over the age of three still has a hard time with these memory games. We can play this game without the concentration aspect that he struggles with or play this game the traditional way, also looking at
hints from time to time, making this game much more enjoyable for us to play.

The interface to these games is easy and child-friendly as my son plays with this app both alone as well as with me, and we both think the cereal-in-milk theme is a lot of fun. In each of these games, the letters tapped are narrated by a child and although the voice is cute, I do think some kids may have a hard time understanding these letters being pronounced this way, but aside from that, this is a very nice letters app.

iPad Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

Alphabytes screenshot 1 Alphabytes screenshot 2 Alphabytes screenshot 3 Alphabytes screenshot 4 Alphabytes screenshot 5
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