Spot It review

Spot It is a Facebook game from Ravensburger Digital. It’s currently being highlighted by Facebook in the “New Games” section of App Center.

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Spot It is a game that challenges players to look at pairs of near-identical images and spot the differences between them. Each pair of images has a particular number of differences to find and can be challenged in one of two different modes. There is also a collection metagame that encourages repeat play, and social competition between friends.

The game opens with an initial tutorial in which the player is tasked with completing a simple pair of images, then the process of purchasing “booster packs” of pictures is explained. Players earn coins with each successfully-completed puzzle, and these coins may be used to purchase the aforementioned booster packs. Each booster pack has a specific theme and contains several randomly-selected images from that theme’s collection — “mixed” packs containing images from all themes are also available for a lower cost. Purchasing a booster is no guarantee that you will obtain unique images, however — any duplicates you acquire go into the “trade” menu and can be exchanged with other players, much like a real-life sticker swap meet. At present a special promotion is running whereby purchasing a single booster pack also gives you an extra free one for gifting to a friend — the extra pack cannot be kept for yourself.

Each puzzle may be played in one of two modes, each with their own independent leaderboards. Easy mode gives players a set amount of differences to find on each image, and allows the use of “hints” every so often — after using a hint, which displays the vague area in which a difference is located, it has to “cool down” and recharge for a few seconds. The longer the player takes to complete the puzzle, the fewer points they will attain. Clicking on an incorrect area which does not feature a different causes the image to “freeze” and be unclickable for a few seconds, wasting valuable points. Completing a level records your score on the appropriate leaderboard, with higher scores leading to higher “star” ratings, up to a maximum of three on each level.

Hard mode, meanwhile, has a few differences. Firstly, hints are inaccessible, meaning the player must rely entirely on their observational skills to spot all the differences. Secondly, twice per level the player is taken to a completely different image and challenged to find a single difference against an incredibly tight time limit. Finding the difference in one of these “timed rounds” causes the game to proceed as normal; failing to find it before the time expires causes some sort of distracting visual effect to make finding further differences more difficult — these effects include “ripples” over one of the images, as if it was covered in water, or colored paint blobs randomly dropping on the play area. This effect persists until the player reaches the next “timed round” or completes the level. This mechanic, coupled with the lack of hints, makes Hard mode genuinely challenging and a lot of fun.

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The game also features a “lottery” mechanic whereby the player occasionally earns tickets that can be exchanged for randomly-chosen prizes that include individual images or, less frequently, free booster packs. The lottery can be played even without tickets by expending the game’s currency. This currency is the game’s only means of monetization — there’s no energy mechanic restricting play, and no “pay to win” items to give the player an advantage. Currency is spent solely on booster packs and ticketless lottery entries, though it is earned rather slowly through normal play, so those who want to complete their collection of images quickly may find themselves wanting to pay up rather than grinding. Payment options vary from a $2.50 “starter pack” — which includes 2,000 coins (enough for about five or six “mixed booster” packs containing a random assortment of images, or two specific-themed images) plus a “free” mixed booster pack — to an enormous $111.50 in a single transaction for 80,000 coins. As per usual, the more expensive payment options offer better “value” by offering increasingly-large amounts of “free” currency.