I do not currently speak Hebrew, but in my day job I do talk to a lot of people that speak Hebrew. So I was delighted to see Alephant – a puzzle game about the Hebrew language. In Hebrew, the alphabet is completely different from the one you are currently reading. Many of the letters are connected to a sort of shape?, that will make them sound. This shape is the first letter of their alphabet, which is silent.
I did ask my friends who speak Hebrew if there was a name for this secondary shape, and they said not really in English. She said it’s “how you say the letter”, but knowing exactly what this is, isn’t a requirement in Alephant. In this puzzle game, you are connecting two different shapes, in the right way, to create a letter. The longer, more line-like shape is stuck in place, unable to be moved. The secondary shape, which is inside a sort of circle, can be pushed around the screen.
You see, to create these letters, you need to have the circle shape connected in the right orientation to the lined shape. Sometimes, this shape isn’t quite facing the right way. In that case, if there are any connected letters, you can trigger them to change the orientation of the circular shape. The line shape also moves depending on how you move, so you can end up lining everything up correctly and triggering the letter!
This is actually a really challenging thing to get your head around, though Alephant introduces this mechanic much better than I could ever explain it. It may take a few tries to get the orientation correct and then trigger the letter, which will then let you go onto the next level. Alephant does allow you to skip around to different letters, so if you are really stuck on a puzzle, you can always move onto the next and come back to it!
Alephant is a really interesting way to explore another language, especially one where the letters are not matched by the ones that we have in the English language. It’s neat to see Hebrew represented in this way.
You can currently play the demo of Alephant for free, on Steam. The full game is planned to be released this year, and you can Wishlist it on Steam.