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alphatross

Those who are waiting for an iPhone app that combines both Tetris and Scrabble, wait no longer: Cocos2D has released alphatross, a game of falling blocks with letters on them. There are three levels: Easy, Normal, and Hard, in which the blocks fall progressively faster. To spell a word, you can only tap blocks that are connected to each other–tapping blocks that aren’t touching each other will cause your word to start over with the last letter tapped (words appear at the top of the screen). Black blocks are called Bomb Blocks, and can be substituted for any letter. Tap the check button on the bottom right to submit a word once it’s ready, or tap the X button to cancel a word.

The longer the word, the higher your points; colored blocks are 100 points and Bomb Blocks are 50 points each. If you manage a seven-letter word (or greater), a detonator icon will appear at the bottom left. Tapping the detonator icon will blow up all the bombs on the playing field, as well as all the blocks surrounding it. Challenges add to your score, and will appear in the form of a sun on the upper right hand corner; tap it to reveal the challenge and to accept or skip it. You lose when any of the piles of blocks reach the top.

alphatross is a great concept, but the execution could use a little work. A way to speed up the fall of individual blocks would be nice (waiting for blocks to complete their fall takes up half the game). After that, it’s up to your brain and its bag of words…if it can string together words made mostly of consonants, that is. It’s little things that make the game a tad frustrating, like having a Q block, but never next to (or even close to) a U block–in the rules of English spelling, U always follows the letter Q. Also, spell check is a great tool, please use it while developing the game! The graphics are a bit bland, and the background music a bit annoying, so alphatross could use an overhaul before being truly presented as a game that is addicting.

This 3rd Party App is available at the Apple iTunes AppStore. Browse the full list of all AppStore apps filed under the AppStore category.

Download alphatross at iTunes App Store
Price: $0.99
Developer: Website
AppSafari review of alphatross was written by on January 13th, 2010 and categorized under App Store, Fun, Games, Word Games. Page viewed 4227 times, 2 so far today. Need help on using these apps? Please read the Help Page.

2 Comments to “alphatross”

  1. Thank you for the excellent suggestions. I have taken them very seriously and am actively working on an update to implement many if not all of the criticisms noted in this article. I have decided to drop the “q” block and replace it with a “qu” block which has worked wonderfully in testing so far. I have also decided to develop a way to speed up the individual blocks if desired by tapping on a falling block. I have also made it so the blocks fall more evenly preventing individual columns from getting high too quickly. As for the graphics and music. Expect improvements in these as I continue to update the program.

  2. Update has arrived! A brand new version of Open Feint, some graphics tweaks, replaced ‘q’ blocks with ‘qu’ blocks. Tap on a falling block to make it drop instantly. A more even distribution of blocks preventing huge stacks. A smarter way of distributing consonants and vowels. Plus much more. Thank you to all who have been so patient!

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