What can you say about a game that's barely there? With QuickSpot, Namco takes a time-tested concept as old as the hills and does next to nothing with it. Be it in newspapers or in Highlights Magazine, you've surely seen those brain teasers that ask you to spot the difference between two similar images. Play about 200 of those in a row, and you've approximated the experience of Namco's portable brain teaser.
Namco seems eager to cash in on the "Brain Game" fad, but they just can't commit. They tacked a rating system that aped Big Brain Academy onto their handheld shooting gallery Point Blank DS, and it rears its head again here, perhaps to even less effect. It evaluates your growth and skill in five different categories. Unfortunately, QuickSpot doesn't really test five different skills, it only tests one, making this rating system seem very empty.
With QuickSpot, Namco takes a time-tested concept as old as the hills and does next to nothing with it.
There are two main modes that make up the meat of the experience. Rapid Play employs a Wario Ware-like pace with simple puzzles that each take a few seconds, and a timer counting down. Each puzzle consists of spotting a single difference between the image on the top screen, and circling that difference with the stylus on the lower screen. I was staggered by the simplicity of these at first.
When I began the game, I saw a picture of a car on the top screen, and a picture of a cow on the bottom screen. I thought "They have to be kidding, right?" I circled the cow, and discovered that they were not, in fact, kidding. As the game progresses, these get a little more difficult, and they throw in some complications that have you rub the screen or blow into the mic to reveal the image before spotting the difference. It feels a lot like playing Wario Ware if Wario Ware only had five different games instead of hundreds, and those five games were all the same game.
Focus Play is more like the classic print versions of these puzzles. There differences are more subtle, and there are ten for each image, but there are no timers or other distractions. A couple of these puzzles stumped me for a few minutes, but most of them took me under a minute to solve. There's 140 of them, though, so it'll still take a little while to get through this mode, compared to Rapid Play, which can be toppled in under an hour.
At least QuickSpot doubles as a very nice art gallery. There's a lot of nice Namco cameos that remind me of the better games I could be playing. The music is all cheesy arrangements of classical songs, though, so don't hope to hear your favorite Namco tunes.
QuickSpot might work on the level of a crossword puzzle or a sudoku game, and it'll probably entertain some of the younger set and people that don't generally play a lot of games. But if you're hoping for an experience to keep you busy for more than 10 minutes at a time, you won't find it here. This is a bare-bones package that barely manages to deliver on its simple premise, and doesn't aspire to do much more.
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