Review: Spot the Differences! (3DS eShop)

Spot the exit sign and run

There is nothing wrong with simple games on the eShop; players have demonstrated through iOS and Android that quick, fun bursts of creative gameplay can work wonderfully. Unfortunately, Bigben Interactive's Spot the Differences! crosses the line from simple to empty. While it works in the most rudimentary of ways — you are given two versions of the same photo and must spot the differences using the stylus — there is literally nothing else to do. Spot the Differences is an unacceptably bare experience that has less content on offer than many free flash games from the early days of the internet.

Following the same format of developer Sanuk's previous Spot the Difference titles, players are shown two versions of the same photo, one on each screen, and must tap on the bottom photo wherever a difference is spotted. That's all there is to it. There are five differences in each photo, and a timer slowly depletes as you study the images; you get points for every photo you spot and keep going until you run out of time. When the game is over, you can add your name to a leaderboard, but unless you and your family are playing on the same 3DS on a regular basis there's no incentive or purpose for it. Some of the differences are quite challenging to spot, while others are glaring and obvious; if a player fails, the game will show the differences that were missed.

With the different sizes of the 3DS screens, we found ourselves occasionally mistaking a spot around the border of certain photos for a "difference," when in fact it was just part of the picture that wasn't visible on the top screen. The pictures are generally quite pleasant to look at, and Sanuk should be commended for crediting the photographers before each level. While the game purports to have 150 photos, we quickly began encountering repeats as we played; it's randomised, obviously, but seeing the same picture of a panda in three consecutive games is annoying and takes out a lot of the challenge. The menus, controlled via touch screen, are pleasant enough, and the same generic background music loops throughout, though it isn't grating.

That's all there is to Spot the Differences. The lack of variety here is glaring; we found ourselves searching the options and menus, assuming there must be more than just the one mode, but there really is nothing else to do here except try to beat the high score on the leaderboard. It grows old fast.

Conclusion

Spot the Differences is a disappointing game. With its lack of content and premium price point — $9.99 is completely unreasonable for a product with one mode that can be found for free elsewhere — we don't recommend Spot the Differences to anyone other than fans of good photography. Even then, there are cheaper alternatives.