AlphaNatix (pronounced "Al-Fanatics") is a fun and unique puzzler from Zero Entertainment. First (but unfortunately only) in the "Action-Word" series, the best way to describe the game is Marble Madness meets Scrabble. Like Atari's long-gone classic, you control a ball on an isometric playing board, where falling off the edge means instant death. The added puzzle element is that the floor is covered with letters, and the aim is to roll over the letters in a certain order so they make up words before time limit runs out. There are special tiles, including squares that bounce and teleport you around, as well as bonuses and other surprises.
The game's unique combination of word puzzle and action is addictive. The graphics are nothing fancy, but is more than pleasant. The puzzles differ dramatically in difficulty, and the later ones would really get you scratching you head if only the clock wasn't against you. Too bad the other titles in "Action-Word" series never materialized, and Zero Entertainment is no more. If you enjoy word games but want some excitement beyond crossword puzzles, or arcade games with some brainpower involved, AlphaNatix more than fits the bill.
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