Antlers.gifFrom Vectorpark, the studio that made Windosill, comes Metamorphabet, a poke-and-find game in which the player must manipulate letters of the alphabet to find visual and often animated representations of words that start with that letter. It's great for kids, of course, but even playing it as an adult, the game is entertaining.

Traditional picture books and posters have static images and are therefore limited in what words they can convey to young minds. Metamorphabet does a wonderful job of using animations and player actions to show off words that a picture book couldn't, such as "inflate" for the letter i, which is probably my favorite display of any word in the game. Each letter has multiple words attached to it, with some interesting transitions from one word to another. My favorite transition is probably found on the letter x in the morphology from X-ray to xylophone.

Another thing Metamorphabet has going for it is that since the game talks, it helps kids learn phonics without requiring an adult. Learning to match letters with the sounds they make is something that must be taught, which means that a picture book about letters is limited, again, by its silence. Metamorphabet, however, plays a recording of every word when it's displayed. For busy parents, this can be a boon.

There is one educational point on which I find Metamorphabet lacking, namely that lower case letters are nowhere in sight for most of the game. The only lowercase letter that appears is y, and that's only because its tail is used for one of the animated toys. We say there are twenty-six letters in the alphabet, but there are really fifty-two, and the lower case letters are arguably more important, since they are used more often.

I wouldn't say Metamorphabet is only for kids. It only took me about an hour to complete, but I really enjoyed seeing some of the clever things they did with the letters. It certainly doesn't have much if any replay value for adults, though it did get me to laugh out loud a few times.

Anyone interested in finding out if Metamorphabet is for them can try a web-based demo at the Metamorphabet web site. It's available for Windows, Mac, and iOS. The regular price is $4.99. Metamorphabet won the IGF award for visual art this year and was a grand prize finalist.