Have you ever played the games in the activity sections of magazines or travel kits? Aside from the word finds and crossword puzzles, you may remember the games in which you search for differences between two images. Suffice to say, they were enjoyable in that particular setting, but this application, Spot the Difference by Lunatic Games, takes the game out of the magazine and plops it into Facebook.
If you’ve ever played one of these games before, you’ll be able to guess how the app works. Essentially, the player is shown a pair of real photographs that has been manipulated with PhotoShop, and the player must click on the five differences within the two pictures within a set amount of time. However, should the player click incorrectly, they lose time.
As users play, they earn points for each item they find, and if they find all five items before time runs out, they proceed to the next image. Of course, if you get stuck, the designers have included some “clues” to help the player out at the cost of some time and a few points, but they aren’t so much “clues” as they are freebie life-lines (they circle one of the differences for you).
The game also looks fairly clean, with some decent sound effects, and polished Flash work (not to mention some pretty good photo manipulation). However, the game is so simple that it is only really entertaining for a few minutes, like when you are in that procrastinating mood.
Unfortunately, Spot the Difference also has a couple big annoyances. The first of these is that some of the differences between images are so subtle that it is a royal pain finding them (i.e. a three or four pixel wide line that is missing). Luckily, most of the differences aren’t that bad, but there are enough to be annoying.
However, the game’s artificial play limits are also pretty annoying (though clearly intentional). Players are limited to the number of times they can play the game per day. Once you are out of plays, you can either challenge friends or pay for one of the advertisements on the game. However, that’s all part of the design of course, as the game is steadily growing in monthly active users on Facebook.