AlphaOmega is a puzzle game where you swap letters around in order to make words on a scrabble-like board. The core idea of the game is interesting, but it's full of little systems that could have been polished a bit more and some tasks could have been designed as to help the player be less frustrated rather than annoyed at how stuff works. I did have a bit of fun with it, but ultimately it's a bit too flawed for me.

As most puzzle games do, AO starts with a tutorial that explains the basic idea of the game. You have a scrabble board and you need to swap letters around so all the words are revealed instead of garbled letters. Some rules govern this switching, mainly that you can only switch a letter once and that letters at the intersections of two words can be swapped with letters from both of these words. As the game goes on, you get longer words, more words, words with spaces with them - and maybe other mechanics I haven't seen. A minor annoyance was how the game didn't zoom out by default, you're too close to the game board and even in levels with plenty of stuff to pan around, you still need to zoom out manually.

The game provides you with phrases or words that serve as hints for the words you'll find on the board, but after a while you need to match words in order to reveal the hints, rendering them quite useless. If I had no idea what the word category was, I wouldn't be able to match them and reveal the word category. Hint phrases could have always been available. If you make a mistake, the level ends and you need to restart. This is also annoying in the fact that words you have properly formed will need to be redone. You should be able to just 'undo' your moves if you make a mistake. In the later levels, I had no idea what the words were - maybe you can chalk that on me not being a native English speaker - so it was frustrating trial and error.

You can also pay to buy hints - there is no way to get them in-game, the only things you unlock are new visual themes for the game, and they're quite nice - and use them to reveal one word, at random. Although hints are saved - so if you restart a level, the hinted word is still correct - this hint system is pitifully inadequate. Just having the word category always visible is more helpful than having one word - not of your choosing - be revealed and since you can trial-and-error it forever, you don't ever 'need' to pay for them.

AlphaOmega is a neat idea that I enjoyed, but it could've done more stuff around the edges in order to make it a more fun game that I might have hung around with for a while longer. You might enjoy it if word puzzles are your cup of tea, but some frustrating levels might wear you down.

AuthorJérémie Tessier