Review: Spot the Differences: Party! (Wii U eShop)

Spot a different party

Spot the Differences: Party! will hand you photo after photo, politely asking you to identify the inconsistencies between their lookalikes until you either pass out from unrelenting boredom or stare at each and every one of the 300+ pictures on display. Go it alone or rope a friend or three into the monotony, but unless you’re hosting a strength training session for your local Where’s Waldo enthusiast club, this is probably the last thing you want to break out at a party.

If the mediocre times do start rolling, every participant’s eyes will be glued on a generic photo and its mirror image—or so it may appear. The dual portraits are riddled with minor discrepancies that you must discover. That generic architectural structure is missing a window; this meticulously arranged food item has one too many olives; the cute puppy’s hat is a different colour. Either by tapping with the GamePad stylus or pointing with a Wii Remote, spotting the differences is quite seriously the name of the game. A timer will put the pressure on your sleuthing skills, and trusting to luck by poking randomly at the image will reduce your time drastically. You have a couple of lifelines to help you out — namely timer extensions and a free pass for stuff you can’t find — but once they run dry, it’s the end of the line.

And unless you want to start over, that really is the end of the line; there’s hardly anything else to see in this game. It certainly is neat that people can play cooperatively — in the multiplayer 'Party' mode — on the TV screen and Wii U GamePad simultaneously, but extra pairs of eyes can only go so far. Of course, those same eyes can take turns in a competitive battle via the GamePad, requiring players to mark their findings in secret; it's a nice diversion, if bare-bones. As a children’s toy Spot the Differences: Party! is more forgivable, but the lack of imagination and severely limited modes do it no favours.

That said, this is no cheap product thrown out the door in a rush and on a shoestring budget. The interface and controls are both wholly pleasant, presenting the potential for a quiet morning with a calming pastime at your disposal; the steaming cup of coffee on the game’s slick menu reinforces this image. No indeed, the quality bar is above acceptable. The game falls apart in the simple fact that it’s an absolute bore to play.

Conclusion

Spot the Differences: Party! isn’t worth time or money unless you're an enthusiast that adores these kinds of experiences. It performs one trick and one trick only, but that trick isn’t very good in the first place; even for its simplistic genre, it does little to liven up proceedings. You can find tons of free alternatives just about anywhere you look, whether somewhere on the internet, on your phone, or maybe even in your local newspaper. And if you’re dead set on spotting differences in a living room setting and have no desire for extra bells and whistles? Well, this might be the place to look. But that’s a big “if”.