It’s not often that a mobile game consumes my attention for hours on end. I have nothing against the medium, per se, it’s just that a large majority of its offerings in the free-to-play category are downright exploitative.
When a developer does free-to-play right, though, the game can be a genuine slam dunk. Look at Crossy Road, for instance, a simple little game that’s earned Hipster Whale a truck full of cash.
My latest mobile addiction in a short line of titles is the recently released Alphabear.
This is a word puzzle game with mechanics pulled from the likes of Scrabble and Chime. You make words by selecting letter tiles on the board. A bear sits in the center of the screen. That bear grows bigger, or a new bear is generated, if you clear out all the tiles on one side. The tiles have a turn counter on them, so take too long to clear and it will turn into an unusable rock.
That’ll stop your bears from growing, and that means your score drops.
Levels have specific challenges, and you unlock new bears that add bonuses to your play.
There is a pay wall, friends. You’ll eventually reach a point where you either have to pay up or spend your time waiting. However, if you drop $4.99, a decent price for a really good word puzzle game, the microtransactions go away and in-game currency is earned at a rate that removes the need to wait around.
Hey, it’s free, and the pay wall won’t bother you if you don’t mind waiting for play. That’s what I’ve been doing, and I have no trouble staying addicted to Alphabear. It’s out now on both iOS and Android.