Arabiah offers a fun and entertaining casual game with a cultural twist

Posted: May 29, 2009 in Puzzle

Learning a new language is always a challenge, but how about using the characters in another language to create a new game to offer a inherently different twist to the challenge. Arabiah is such a game, and it’s a polished game that delivers fun and educational gameplay.

Arabiah is really a well-designed game along the lines of Azkend and Treasures of Montezuma in terms of the interface. The game simply looks great with smooth animations and a soothing Middle Eastern-esque soundtrack. A game tutorial is provided, but under the Options section, a neat alphabet tutorial is included that goes through each of the Arabic alphabet characters.

The objective is to match all the symbols in the four moving rows. As soon as a row is complete, it turns into gold. On the left-hand side, a group of random symbols are provided, and mind you, not all of them are useful. When you find a symbol you want to use, you drag and drop it onto the appropriate spot on the moving row. If you don’t want to use any of the random symbols because on occasion, none of the symbols can be used, you shake the device to shuffle. Honestly, I don’t like having to shake my device, and I hope the devs include a shuffle button to accomplish the same task.

Where the game becomes tough is that the rows are constantly moving and not all the symbols are useful. On top of that, there is a “Sands of Time” scale in the lower right corner that is slowly filling up with sand. You must turn all of the rows into gold before it fills up completely. So if you have any preconceptions Arabiah is yet another Match-3 type game, I can tell you that this isn’t. Depending on how you quickly you accomplish this, there are additional bonus points and a temporary halt to the Sands of Time.

The overall goal of the game is high scores which you can upload to the global online scoreboard. The game is all about making those matches which is fine for casual gamers, but it would be nice to have a bigger goal attached to it whether it’s practical–additional lessons on the Arabic language–or not so practical–unlocking a bigger treasure. It’s also lacks an autosave mode so hopefully this is addressed soon.

Designed for the casual player, Arabiah is neat game with endless levels. It’s easily one of the better games when you need a diversion or some quick challenging gameplay.

Albie Meter: 4 Stars (recommended for casual gamers who want more of time waster without the complexities of an overall objective)

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