April 12, 2007

Namco Bandai’s QuickSpot is a frustrating, gimmicky effort that annoys more than it entertains.

The game consists solely of the “spot the differences” game, the children’s activity with two pictures with slight things separating them. There are two main modes: Rapid Play, which focuses on speed, and Focus Play, which focuses on finding all the discrepancies. Then, with a Brain Age-like presentation, the game keeps track of your “brain activity.” Also tacked on is a “fortune” mode that seems completely unrelated to anything.

The game was finished in 2005, and it’s no wonder it wasn’t a priority to get it stateside. It has many of the gimmicky flaws found in earlier DS titles. Engrossed by the touch screen, developers decided to make players circle each menu item to select it, rather than just letting someone tap it or push a button. This becomes extremely frustrating. Also, “boss stages” in the main game involve rubbing the screen and blowing into the microphone. The days when that was innovative and fun are over, Namco. Also, the soundtrack is just weird. The most frequent tunes are techpop remixes of Ave Maria and Joy To The World, for crying out loud.

This title does have a few redeeming points, though. Special modes unlocked by playing the mundane main game throw in some variety. The multiplayer is adequately engaging, with hot potato-like Time Bomb and single-card game Scramble. Namco Bandai also throws in as many of its series as possible for cameo appearances, making longtime fans smile, if only for a second.

QuickSpot is geared toward casual gamers, and in some ways, it succeeds. However, due to its lack of variety, there are better, deeper games, and until casual gamers buy 10 DS games a year, this game will go on without an audience.

Score: 1/5

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