Alpha Zen – 6/10

alpha zen

Alpha Zen is a free to download game that will charge you via in-app purchases to continue playing past the first level pack (20 levels).  The idea was to create a relaxing puzzle game that also teaches and inspires its users with quotes, some very familiar while others largely unknown.  Basically, words can be oriented either horizontally or vertically (but not ever backwards), and they must be connected via shared letters (think of Scrabble).  You are given a restrictive box, starting out as just a rectangle, but as the levels advance, the boxes become more and more abstract.  The goal is to connect all the words they give to you in such a way as to fit them into the box.  It’s basically like Scrabble with pre-determined words to use and a shape-restricted perimeter to build inside.  The words all organize themselves into some pseudo-inspiring phrase at the completion of the level.

Overall, the game idea behind Alpha Zen is quite alright.  Some of the levels get really challenging, which is a good thing.  Others are simple, which is also a good thing to break the frustration of the other tough levels.  However, I really am not a fan of the aura of this game.  It’s supposed to be relaxing, inspiring, etc.  Instead, it’s phony.  The soft shades of colors that grace the background, the soothing music, the clichés that organize in front of you upon finishing a puzzle… it’s all a little over the top.  For quick evidence, check out the abstract app icon.  Add to this the fact that they try to hook you onto the game before ripping you off with an interesting in-app purchase scheme, and Alpha Zen loses a lot of potential value.  By the way, the in-app purchases allow you a limited time to try the other packs for $.99, before making you pay an additional $1.99 to finish what you start once your one dollar “free trial” expires.  Funny how that works.  However, maybe you fall in love with the strange Alpha Zen app and you’re all for paying a little money to continue the game.  An overall 6/10.

-TheAppEmperor signing out

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