Alpha Bugs, draw the alphabet while squashing bugs
One of my son’s favorite games is Ant Smasher and it’s increasingly difficult for me to convince him into playing educational games. He just loves the sound those poor ants make when they’re being squished and my only worry is that it won’t become a habit in the real life (squishing little bugs). As Ant Smasher is hugely popular I get the feeling I’m not the only parent experiencing this.
Today’s game, Alpha Bugs, combines the best of two worlds, as it allows children to paint alphabet letters, digits and various objects while protecting their work from invading bugs by squishing them. This is a children’s game (just like Kids Numbers and Colors, the game we’ve reviewed last week) thus its interface and the maps are clearly designed in a joyful child-hand style:
How to play Alpha Bugs:
- Set game options. When the game starts you (by you I mean the child that plays the game) have to select how to play the game: Easy vs Hard mode (the hard mode is hard even for adults), Bugs on or off (i.e. if you want to have bugs crawling and chewing the paint or not), Timer on or off (by default the timer is off, so you have as much time as needed to complete the level).
- Select game mode. After you’ve set the options select one of the four possible object categories: alphabet letters (all caps), alphabet letters (small caps), digits or objects (i.e. flowers, fruits, planets). From each category you get to choose which particular item you want to paint, for instance from the alphabet you’ll get to choose a particular letter. The game starts when an item is selected.
- Paint and squish. To paint the given object simply tap on a location and drag the finger in the given shape. There’s a Mess Meter in the top right corner that shows how off the track you are, if the mess is higher than a given level (a dotted vertical line in that progress bar) you’ll have to start over that level. To pass the level the Mess Meter has to be within the given limits and the Complete bar has to be fully filled up. Each time your finger gets outside the shape, the Mess Meter increases. The fun part is all the insects that start coming out of everywhere and chew the paint you’re filling the shape with. You have to either squish the bugs (tap and hold on them until you hear the sound) or tap and drag them outside the work area.
- Level up. When you complete a level you get a star rating depending on how well you did, ideally the Mess Meter has to be close to 0, but practically that’s difficult to achieve. There are multiple levels however Alpha Bugs is a freemium game meaning that some levels will be unlocked in the free version, thus payment required to unlock all the maps.
Combining learning with playing, Alpha Bugs is entertaining enough for preschool kids to keep them focused on the object painting while destroying all the little buggers. You can download the game directly from Google Play here: Alpha Bugs: Fun Alphabet Game.
The developer of Alpha Bugs was kind enough to take time and answer a few questions for our readers, so below you can read the full interview:
Q: Can you share some information about yourself with our readers?
A: I am a newbie android developer and Alpha Bugs is my first app actually. This was a two person venture and we both worked part time on this, along with our regular job.
How did you come with the idea to create Alpha Bugs, what inspired you?
A: Well we wanted to create an app which was both fun and as well as educational. Something that kids would enjoy while at the same time learn something. We wanted to engage their hand eye co-ordination while sharpening their minds too.
How long did it take from that idea until the first public release?
A: Given that it was a part time venture, it was probably around 6 months of effort. Also the first app takes the longest time. So one needs to be patient and go through many revisions before you finalize a public release. Even after that, I believe one needs to constantly work on the apk to fix bugs and make improvements.
Have you developed other apps or is this your first one? Do they target only the Android market or others as well (i.e. iOS)?
A: This is our first app and as of now only in Android market. Depending on how well it’s received, we might consider porting it to iOS or Windows 8.
With hundred of thousand of apps in the appstore, how do you make people aware of Alpha Bugs?
A: This is a learning process for us as well. We are trying many avenues, mainly Facebook, Twitter, Google+, along with trying to get our app reviewed. Key thing is to be persistent and try to keep your app visible.
What future plans you have for Alpha Bugs (new features, …)?
A: We might consider adding new shapes, or new language fonts. This way, it’s not just limited to the English alphabet.
What popular apps are an inspiration for you as a developer and why?
A: Personally I find simple apps really inspirational. Apps that have a very good gameplay and are simple to execute. Examples: 4 Pics 1 Word, X Construction, Glow Hockey etc.
Have any tips/advices for other developers that want to start working on an app? Any tools that you consider to be a must?
A: One needs to be driven to make an app, what’s really important is to be passionate. If you believe in an idea, then you can always make time and gain knowledge. There are lot of help forums and good libraries out there that help when it comes to android app programming. We would like to thank the libgdx team specifically.