If you are playing mobile games, or you are following news about them, you might have heard of King by now. King is the mobile developer company famous for Candy Crush Saga, its follow-up Candy Crush Soda Saga, Farm Heroes Saga, and many more similar games in their “Saga” series. Recently, they even got into a controversy, because they had decided to copyright the “Saga” word, meaning no other games can have it in their titles apart from theirs; but thankfully, they lost any copyright toward the Saga name. But they have been using it ever since in their games, and the newest one, AlphaBetty Saga, is no exception.
So, what is AlphaBetty Saga about?
This game follows King’s well-proven formula used in their other games: take a popular game type, break it up into stages or levels if it isn’t already, add various power-ups, obstacles and objectives on top of it and monetize it all with micro-transactions. This time, instead of FarmVille-like or Match-3 type games, King took the idea of word-finding games and modified that to fit their formula. The game is available for multiple platforms, here are the links for iOS, android and online at king’s own site.
Basically, you have to use your English skill and vocabulary to find words in the boards presented to you. Similarly to Match-3 games, words you found by swiping them will pop out from the playfield, giving way for more letters to fall in from the top. Each word must be at least 3 letters long. Every word longer than 3 letters leaves a tile with some special effect when you pop them. These tiles include golden ones, which give bonus points when used in a word, and purple “cannon” tiles, which when used in a word, destroy all letter-tiles in the directions specified by the arrows on them. These tiles are useful in racking up some big scores, which is the goal for most of the first few levels. Later levels will give you lots of varying objectives, such as getting the cheese from the top to the very bottom of the board, popping a certain amount of gum-covered tiles by using them in words, or clearing all of the tangled vines from the board. After around the 20th level, the usual obstacles and tricks used by King start to appear.
These elements include every trick we know from King: tangled vines holding up blocks, requiring you to use them in words to free them and let pieces fall below them; stone blocks which are removed by using any letter adjacent to them; pieces of cheese, which you’ll need to get to the very bottom of the screen by using and destroying every letter below them. In addition to this, the player also starts with 5 lives. Each failed level costs them 1 life, which will either regenerate with a rate of 1 life per half an hour, or players can cough up real money for in-app-purchases (IAPs) to either refill these, or buy power-ups. Like usual in this genre, the game also gives small samples of gems – the premium currency – in order to let players buy and try out some of these power-ups.
There is one point, in which AlphaBetty Saga is a bit better than the previous Saga games – players can use their English vocabulary to help them overcome the obstacles presented by the game. Since this game uses letters instead of various colored gems or whatnot, it is much easier for the player to see whether he will have the chance of winning the current round or not. This is also a worse design in another way, as players will more likely play less when they start a new stage and see that the random generator screwed them over by not putting useful letters close to each other. There are several levels, where the player may use up all of their 5 lives very quickly, because the random generator is heavily biased against giving useful letters to the player, steering them toward the purchasable power-ups. This is a bad design choice in itself.
But the aforementioned extras given for creating words with more than 3 letters can help the player in overcoming the obstacles: for example, if the objective is to pop all bubbled tiles, and one is in an unreachable corner, then you can just create a 4-letter word, which gives a golden overlay to any one of the tiles. Then you can use that golden-colored tile in a word, which automatically and partially completes your objective.
Anyone who has played a King game previously will feel at home here, because the design is familiar, too. The graphics use King’s familiar mouse characters, and the backgrounds and play board are nicely designed and are easy on the eye. The soundtracks and sound effects are also quite well-done and relaxing and give a good atmosphere for the game.
The game also has a lot of content in it; as of the time of writing this article, 185 levels are present on a straight line; you have to progress from level to level, and you don’t have any ability to skip levels. Much like in other King games, social integration is also present via Facebook: you can see which of your friends are playing the game, you can see their scores and progression and you can also play the game on the Facebook website in addition to the mobile platform.
So, how does AlphaBetty Saga fare in overall? What you’ve read so far here, you might think it is quite a good game, albeit it isn’t very original. Well, it depends on what you are looking for in a word puzzle game. If you don’t like word puzzles at all, then this game won’t change your mind. If you are tired of IAPs and/or King’s formula, then you should also avoid this game.
While the game can be fun to play, and it is well-polished, the IAPs, and the game design constantly pushing the player toward the purchasable power-ups can be a major turn-off for most. There are many word puzzle games on both Apple’s and Google’s app stores; many of those can be better in terms of gameplay and IAPs than King’s offering.
How to win AlphaBetty Saga
Luckily, we have collected all the wise tips and tricks we learned from playing the game that will help you win all the levels and we have posted them along with game play walkthrough videos, where you can see all these techniques in action. Click here to read our alphabetty saga cheats.
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