Care about bears: Look, the bears actually matter. Each one comes with certain perks: The Easy Bear, for example, offers a final score boost plus extra points for the "E, A, S, Y" tiles. Mummy Bear, on the other hand, rewards more points for the "M, U, S, T, Y" tiles. They're adorable, and the perks can be amusing, but certain bears are especially useful on particular stages or game modes.
For example, in a timed game mode, you'll want a bear that provides extra seconds on the clock--like Stretch Bear. Other stages might promise to have more of a certain letter, so you'll want a bear that offers up extra points for those. Each bear has a nap period after use, however--anywhere from a minute to a full day, so keep that in mind as you're picking bears to be on your board.
Free to pace: Like many free-to-play games, Alphabear has an energy system, along with earned/purchasable currency. But I find it very fair, and more interestingly, I like the way it sets a pace for players.
No, it's not designed to be played in huge chunks, but it's not like Alphabear offers up a treasure trove of content and then holds you back from it via freemium shenanigans. Instead, the game gives you a couple of daily challenges to play and occasionally opens up a boss or special event.
As such, I don't feel like I'm making slow progress--I'm playing the amount allocated that day, and it's a solidly satisfying amount. An empty energy meter regenerates in a few hours, otherwise you can watch a couple of video ads to speed it up--or spend money, although that's a pretty extreme move in a game like this. With that design approach, Alphabear makes itself daily appointment gaming, and if you love word puzzlers, I imagine you'll be more than happy to oblige.
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