A is for apple.
That’s the kind of thing you learned at school, by way of a badly illustrated apple alongside a chunky letter ‘A’. Metamorphabet thumbs its nose at such uninspiring fare, bringing new life to the alphabet, through a series of imaginative, surreal and frequently disturbing animations.
Right from the off, you know this isn’t going to be a typical trip through the alphabet. A single tap causes an A to grow antlers, which you can drag and watch pleasingly spring back into place. More taps and the A transforms into an arch and goes for an amble. But Metamorphabet is just warming up. Next, the B grows a bushy beard before a beak emerges from its top hole, vomiting an endless stream of colourful bugs. It’s like a deranged fever dream wrenched from the mind of a children’s animator and squirted into a touchscreen device.
B is for brilliant
There is now and again perhaps a nagging sense of ‘C is for canned animation’ about the app — a certain inflexibility; but it never feels like a slideshow going through the motions. And if progression is sometimes a bit heavily defined, you’ll mostly be distracted at what’s in front of your face and barely notice anyway…
A cone becomes a car, driven by a massive caterpillar. It honks when tapped, can be flung into the air, and makes a worrying smashing noise upon landing. O’s ostrich and orange have a curious relationship, the former seemingly being both curious about and terrified of the latter, depending on relative proximities and speeds.
A giant N-shaped building’s neighbours watch a massive nose protrude from their dwelling before the entire structure ends up on the end of a worryingly spindly neck. It's all brilliant.
Not just for kids
The one mistake you might make with Metamorphabet is that it’s solely for children, not least when each word is precisely spoken in a clear if slightly detached manner, like a Sesame Street voiceover artist has been hypnotised and trapped forever inside the app.
After all, we were regularly merrily delving into Metamorphabet in its iOS incarnation a year before its recent Android release, captivated by its creative heart, engagingly bouncy physics, and unsettling weirdness. But it is a sight to see a tiny human grappling with Metamorphabet on a touchscreen device, transfixed by ‘daydreams’ that can be dragged out of the window as the most fragile of clouds, or a pinwheel that becomes a flagpole in a parade, full of instruments to play with tiny taps.
So regardless of your age, grab a copy right now, because we need more apps of Metamorphabet’s ilk.