You come away from Alphaland thinking "This is art, without the drama." That is, it an interesting aesthetic experience, from narrative, visual, and ludological perspectives all; its subtext is not entirely clear, but a degree of tasty obscurity is itself an effective artistic technique. And "without the drama," because unlike, oh, Rohrer, or the Tale of Tales folks, there's nothing here that says "I are an artist, look at me!" Indeed, the effect is as subdued as the minimalist graphics.
Alphaville is a platformer, with blocky, flat colored shapes providing the environment, and a little blue square for the character, if you can call it such. Some, but not a great deal, of platforming skill is required to play through it, but familiarity with platformers is required to understand the aesthetic of the game; as with many forms of art, a degree of cultural literacy is required to understand the work, in this case, with the nature of the platformer.
No objective is ever set; there is no story (though there's a bit of text at the inception in which someone thanks you for agreeing to test their game). There are little yellow squares that produce a sound when you collect them, so perhaps you are supposed to do so. There's also text that appears at times, some with the feel of test code, some that give a hint for what you are supposed to do (though all such hints are quite obscure), and some that seem to be the game, an awakening sapience talking to you.
There are a number of powerups, a couple of different enemies, and odd changes in the dynamic of the game at times, as when you can suddenly kill enemies, or clear some squares by moving through them. No explicit instructions are provided, and you must determine what has happened and what you must do next by experiment.
All in all, it's a curious game: visually striking because so minimal, with a form of gameplay parseable only because of our familiarity with the genre, and a curiously effective narrative, of a kind, carried in tiny bits of text.