In Alpha Man, one pushes boxes about the level, trying to place them exactly in the position that the map requires. Each box has a letter and the letters make up a word. The player does not try to spell the word; rather, the word simply provides the number of boxes and letters intended for the letter.
Boxes with letters on them slide as far as they can in a straight direction if pushed, which adds to the challenge. Boxes without letters can be positioned one square at a time.