Spot It! Challenge Review
Posted by Jacob Crites
Spot It or Ignore It?
Spot It! Challenge, if nothing else, has to be commended for making an incredibly boring idea (that's usually relagated to children's books that you'd find in the waiting room at the pediatrician's office) frantic and fun. At its core this is is still very much a portable version of the Spot It! search-and-find books on which the game is based — you're presented with a large, cluttered scene and then tasked with finding certain items hidden within it. It's the way the game handles the actual “finding” that makes it surprisingly enjoyable.
Every so often an item to find will pop up into your queue on the top screen. As soon as it hits the queue a little timer starts ticking down, and if you don't find the object and tap it quick enough, that object will be locked. Get too many objects locked, and it's a game over. With one object to find it's easy-shmeazy (yes, trust us, shmeazy is a completely legitimate word), but when your queue starts to stack up with four or five objects, each with a different time limit attached to it, things can get pretty intense.
You “beat” the stage once you've successfully cleared 20 objects (which is much easier said than done, even on easy mode) which allows you to unlock the next stage. Clearing the levels gets easier on subsequent tries since you'll have a better idea of where certain objects are the second go-round; but while it may look like a cluttered mess, these levels have been specifically designed to trip you up. Unless you have a photographic memory, it's still fun to go back and play previously-completed stages — especially since the objects and the order in which you have to find them changes each time you play.
There's a good number of stages to be found here, but the replay value would be considerably higher with the inclusion of online leaderboards — going back to previously beaten stages to try and top your high score is only fun for so long, and the local pass-and-play multiplayer isn't much to write home about.
The biggest problem with the game, however, is that it doesn't always feel fair. There's no way to zoom out and view the entire scene, so you'll constantly have to scroll around by dragging your stylus across the touchscreen. This is a problem since you're timed, the scenes are often quite large and the game sometimes confuses dragging for tapping.
The visuals are also a little sloppy. The cluttered scenes you'll examine are actual photographs, and it's clear that they had to be heavily compressed in their transition to DSiWare, giving them a somewhat grainy look. Graphics aren't the most important part of games, of course, but Spot It is a game that requires you to look at a scene and find deviously hidden objects — having clear, crisp visuals is a must.
Despite its grainy visuals and a few gameplay issues, Spot It! Challenge milks a surprising amount of hectic fun out of such a passive, and boring past-time — looking for stuff. If you're a fan of the search-and-find books the game is based on or I-Spy, this 200 Point title might be worth looking at more closely.