Alphabeats: Master Edition
Gameplay 7
Graphics 6
Sound 9

Alphabeats offers a new spin on word games by challenging your vocabulary as well as your reflexes. Creating the longest and most complicated words using letters dropping from the top of the screen is harder than it sounds, especially when tied to a fast beat. The game requires some quick reflexes as you must also dodge unwanted letters, so don’t expect a completely tranquil experience. However, if you have a good vocabulary and decent selection of songs to import into the game, it can certainly keep you busy for a while.

Gameplay: Challenges your word knowledge as well as reflexes.

Graphics: A little more bland than we would have liked to see.

Sound: Includes a nice selection of music tracks as well as the option to import your own

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Alphabeats: Master Edition

Developer: Rad Dragon | Publisher: Rad Dragon | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Action / Casual / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

We’ve seen a couple of attempts from developers to spruce up the word game genre a bit, but to our knowledge Alphabeats is the first time that spelling has been combined with rhythm action. The idea behind the game is very simple, letters fall from the sky and you have to catch them with your paddle in order to create words. “Depositing” these words earn you points, with the goal being to rake in as much as possible before the end of the song. More points are obviously awarded for longer words and rarer letters, but there is a catch. You have to dodge all the letters that are not part of the word that you are trying to spell or else you will lose your word. This can become a little tricky seeing as the size of your paddle grows along with the length of the word you are spelling.

Alphabeats is an interesting fusion of words and music, with this PC version stripping the game of all traces of DLC and in-app purchases. Unlike the original mobile version Alphabeats Master Edition also comes with support for custom songs as well as reconfigurable controls. The option to use your own music is a nice one as it doesn’t take very long to grow tired of the tracks that are included. Don’t get us wrong, the tunes by Disasterpeace, Big Giant Circles, ABXY and others are great, but since there are only about 20 songs they can become repetitive after extended playing.

Unlike other types of word games you have to move your cursor to “catch” letters that are falling from the top of the screen instead of typing. This feels a little award at first, but it makes sense and soon becomes more intuitive. Your paddle turns green as soon as you have accumulated letters that form a valid word and you can then press “Up” or right-click to deposit it for points. If you do mess up and touch a letter that invalidates any possible word options the game is kind enough to briefly indicate what word was possible before your misstep. This is a nice way to expand your vocabulary and highlight what you can achieve with a bit more practice. Creating words while catching and dodging letters isn’t that easy, but the game does provide you with some assistance in the form of three different power-ups. Each of them can only be used once per song and they do not recharge, so don’t squander them. Press “1” and you’ll activate a score multiplier which instantly doubles the point value of your next word. Press “2” and you’ll shrink whatever assortment of letters you have already caught into a single block. This makes it easier to dodge unwanted letters and create a longer word, but it also halves your potential points. Finally, pressing “3” activates a bomb blast that clears all the falling letters that are on the screen and rewards you with 50 points for each.

In addition to its “Normal” mode Alphabeats also features two other gameplay modes. The first is “Tricky” which simply results in letters falling down faster. More interesting is “Spellfire” mode where you only get three chances at messing up. Each time you lose a word, it counts as a strike and after three you lose. No matter which mode you prefer, you are ranked at the conclusion of each song and your score, if good enough, can land you on the leaderboards. Other nice touches include a special “Word of the Day” that is powered by Wordnik and can earn you extra points as well as the game keeping track of your top ten highest scoring words.

One of the areas where Alphabeats fall a little flat is the visuals. Considering the challenge and pace of the game we were expecting something a little more flashy from the backgrounds. Instead, everything is kept rather bland and nothing dazzling ever really happens. This is great if you simply want to concentrate on creating words without distractions, but it does make the game feel a little less exciting.

Logophiles will love Alphabeats as it provides them with a great opportunity to flex their vocabulary. However, unlike other types of word games, it is not just your way with words that can help you in this game, but also your reflexes. Dodging unwanted letters with an ever growing paddle isn’t easy and it doesn’t matter if you are a walking thesaurus if all your words end up getting destroyed before completion. This is likely to frustrate players in search of a more tranquil experience, but playing a custom track with a slow beat might help ease the pain. Alphabeats is certainly a lot of fun while it lasts, but it lacks some of the addictive qualities found in other word games, such as Bookworm Adventures. Nevertheless, if you want to test your vocabulary and your reflexes while listening to some good tunes you can’t go wrong with Alphabeats.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP2
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 200 MB available space
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 200 MB available space
  • OS: OS X 10.8
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Storage: 200 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or Steam OS
  • Storage: 200 MB available space
  • Storage: 200 MB available space

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