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Alphabear - Scrabble With Bears for Powerups
Words with Bears
Alphabear is a pretty cute scrabble-esque game starring quite a lot of collectible (yes collectible) bears that you can use to power up your game. While that sounds confusing at first, it gets progressively easier to understand and even cuter as you go along.
The goal in Alphabear is pretty simple. Spell words out of the given tiles in order to score points so you can make bears happy and grow. Simple enough, right?
Well, maybe a visual could help me explain my point.
Helping Out Some Bears
Here we have what a basic board looks like in Alphabear. You can see two bears on screen right now, but that will quickly change once we start to spell some words.
Spelling in Alphabear is easy enough, just tap letter tiles in the order you want to make a word, and when the word you're trying to spell actually exists that check mark at the bottom will actually light up and let you submit your word for the good of bearkind.
My bear friends don't seem too impressed with my selection just yet, but it's not like I'm crying out for their attention. They'll still be thrilled with that 680 points in the bank. If I wanted to try another word instead, I could always just hit the X off to the right to start anew, or individually press each tile that I didn't want to use and try to make a new word.
For right now though, I think hollo is the best I'm going to be able to come up with unless that H feels like getting a letter change.
Alright, I've got my points in the bank and it looks some new bears have shown up to take the spot of the letters I used. Some new letters also appeared around the edges of everything I used up. You might also notice how that H is looking a little yellow. It's not because he's scared since all his friends moved away, but because he has one less turn to stay on the board as a usable tile.
Once that number in the corner hits zero he'll turn into a stone and not only be unusable, but also stop any bears from getting bigger if they need to occupy that space.
You've probably also noticed the mechanically inclined (I believe that's the politically bearect term) fellow who's taking up the middle. He's one of the bears I recruited to bring along with me on this mission. I'll be showing off the bear selection screen a little later. He'll be worth a lot of points later on if he gets big enough, but in order to do that you have to make sure to not let any of your tiles turn to stone, so be careful!
We've made a little more progress here and the board is almost completely taken over by three different kinds of bears, and you can see that at least one is taking up a majority of the screen. If you manage to actually clear the whole board without missing a tile, you'll only have one huge bear left for a big boost in points.
Almost done with the board, and it looks like Fore Bear has a hint for me since it seems I'm stuck. However, thanks to his insight I'm able to clear the level without breaking a sweat. Which brings up the result screen and what happens when you clear a level.
Bearing a Challenge
The score needed to clear this mission wasn't all that high, but here you can see how your score is divided up. Certain bears give you bonuses at the end of a game, so make sure to take the right bear for the job.
The bar at the bottom fills along with your score and grants you certain rewards, those rewards either being some of the in-game currency (which is touched on more in the free-to-play topic down below) and another bear. Your chances of getting a great bear increase if you manage to get to the golden egg, but if you get a bear you've already collected it simply levels up the bear you already have.
So in short there's never really a bad reward in Alphabear. Speaking of rewards though, what was mine?
Looks like I picked up a level 1 Werebear, you can see what bonuses he gives there below his name so he might be a good bear to select later on.
You'll also notice he has a little saying for me there. The words in blue are words that I had spelled during the game. Every time you collect a bear after a mission you get one of these Mad-Libs styled messages, and you can even hit the button in the bottom left corner to refresh the saying and generate a new one if you want.
Choosing the Right Bear for the Job
I mentioned earlier that you can choose bears for each mission, so I'll show you how that works now.
Here's the bear select screen where you can take up to three bear buddies along for the ride to give you various bonuses and have the added bonus of them being the bears you play with on screen during the game.
Each bear has a recharge time though that's dependent on real time, so be careful what bear you use when if you plan on playing a few consecutive games. Not to worry though, while some bears have a recharge time of an hour plus, more common bears recharge much faster.
However though, you're more likely to run out of the in game currency quicker than you'd run out of usable bears which I'll cover now.
Since Alphabear is free to play, there are two in game currencies you have to use to start missions. One of them being honey that recharges overtime (or can be bought with coins, or you can pay a fee to have unlimited honey), and little bear coins that are earned from playing (or bought once again).
If you can see yourself playing Alphabear quite a lot $4.99 isn't too much to ask for unlimited honey, but I also haven't had any issues (at least up until chapter 3) with really needing honey to keep playing as much as I want to. The same can go for coins.
As far as playing Alphabear casually goes you should never need to resort to paying for the in game currencies at least in the early levels. At the time of writing this I also haven't encountered any ads obnoxiously placed all over the game to detract from the experience.
Alphabear does its job well and has a very pleasing aesthetic. For the entry price of free it's certainly worth the time of anyone who enjoys games like scrabble or words with friends but without the aspect of multiplayer. You'll only be playing against yourself here, at least for now. Alphabear has updated a few times in my breaks with playing around with it, so it's clear the developers haven't abandoned it.
For a cute wordy game about bears, it's a pretty nice waste of time that may get a chuckle out of you whenever you unlock a new bear.