A simple block busting game with a distinct sci-fi flavour, Alphabounce is a downloadable DS game that's easy to pick up and play. Presented with a cavalcade of blocks near the top of the screen, the game is essentially an updated version of Breakout, or, if you'd prefer, kind of like a single player version of Pong, as you take control of a paddle on the bottom screen with your stylus, and try to keep a ball bouncing between you and the blocks. When the ball hits one of the blocks at the top of the screen, it'll destroy it, and it's up to you to clear the entire screen without running out of balls. With a range of power-ups to collect - not all of which make your game easier - there's a lot more skill (and luck) to this than you'd imagine.
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That said, with a rather simple concept, and easily accessible controls, there's not all that much here that younger children wouldn't be able to do. While it will require quick reactions (the balls can often start moving very, very quickly, and it can be a real challenge to hit them all back), there's very little else that may cause children problems. With the only real reading being on the menus (there are a few cutscenes which have text over them, but they aren't essential for your understanding of the game), if you're looking for a quick, pick up and play game for your child, this could be a good choice.
As a fairly simple arcade game with little in the way of a story, there's nothing for parents to be concerned about in Alphabounce - no swearing, gore, or anything else to make it unsuitable for children.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo DS