Spot It! Challenge
DSiWare | Big John Games | 1-4 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now (North America) | 200 Nintendo Points
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5th March 2011; By KnucklesSonic8
Playing Spot It! Challenge is a lot like playing a child-oriented Where's Waldo book on your DS. In fact, the puzzles in this game are straight out of an actual book by Capstone Press. There are ten different "pages" as it were, consisting of scenes with numerous randomly-placed items. You'll immediately start off with only one puzzle to work with but you can aim towards unlocking an additional nine. The game will award you with a thumbs up only if you locate all of the 20 items hidden in each picture which isn't always east.
To maneuver around a canvas, you can use your stylus to drag the screen or press the arrow keys on the D-Pad, switching your focus to pick isolated portions of the overall image. It's actually not very intuitive to have to control like this, as opposed to being able to see the whole picture all at once. Just being able to zoom out from your fixed focal point would have been such a simple fix, which is why I was surprised no one caught onto this prior to release. Nonetheless, the interface is certainly workable if you keep at it.
Instead of deciphering riddles (like in 'I Spy') or just having a checklist of objects to look for (as in most hidden object games), this game does things a little differently. On the top screen is a display area that can hold up to five different entries. Each entry that pops into this menu lists a new item that you'll need to scour the area for, whilst ensuring that your timer on the left doesn't run out. If it does, that item will be locked for the rest of the game. If you lock up five items during a session, the game will end. I thought this system was much more interesting than a simple list of things to look for.
By selecting objects at a quick pace, you'll rack up maximum points, with additional bonuses to be acquired if you successfully locate a series of items one after the other. As you continue to do well, level-ups will occur, causing timers to tick faster, and multiple items to appear in your list of things to search for. The game is at its best when you're struggling to find two or three items on your list. Having to seek out multiple objects simultaneously with time breathing down your neck forces you to be quick and thorough in your searches. It's during these instances where you can experience some brief moments of enjoyment.
Those who have a photographic memory will do well at this game. I personally found myself memorizing the overview of each puzzle by my second go which made the game a lot easier to play. New object entries would appear on the top screen and within seconds, I would be able to track them down with relative ease. There were only one or two instances when I was caught off guard, but overall, getting to 20 Points wasn't particularly difficult which makes this a good fit for young and old alike. However, since sessions conclude fairly quickly, this is one of those games where you'll want to have something else on standby for when you get tired of playing.
Record charts are set up for each difficulty level (Easy, Medium, or Insane) on individual puzzle pages. Sadly, you can't even attribute so much as your initials to your high-scores, which is too bad since that may have given other players more of a drive to keep playing. When playing a multiplayer game, up to four players can pass the DS system back and forth, trying to see which among you can solve a puzzle the fastest with only ten items to locate. Honestly, it would have been more productive had they organized it so that finding one or two items would then prompt a switch between players. Doing so would've resulted in less wait time, keeping everyone more engaged. Especially when playing in a four-player game, a level of disinterest begins to develop within players because you need to wait for quite a bit of time.
That's pretty much all there is to be said about this game. Other than the fact that the music sounds decent, really that's all there is to it. What you see is what you get with Spot It! Challenge, making it easy for the average consumer to judge whether or not it's a title worth picking up.
It certainly isn't a bad buy for only $2, nor is it anything markedly different from the norm. The entire execution is decent and the system the developers have created is quite interesting, but at the same time, the interface and the multiplayer could have been executed better. Otherwise, there's little else to say about it. If you typically find yourself drawn to these kinds of games or if you think your child/cousin might enjoy this from time to time, there are worse games you could get for the same price.
18/30 - Okay/Average
Gameplay 7/10 - Uses a system that's much more interesting than a simple list, the 20-Point requirement needed to access later puzzles is reasonable
Presentation 6/10 - Decent interface, organization of multiplayer should have been more engaging, visuals look like they came out of a book, decent music
Enjoyment 3/5 - Very brief fun to be had, not hard to lose interest after a couple minutes, at its best when you're looking for multiple things at once
Extra Content 2/5 - Alternating multiplayer play, high scores are present but you can't assign your initials, unlockable puzzles, not bad for $2
Equivalent to a score of 60% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)