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Quickspot

Score: 96%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: NAMCO BANDAI Games America
Developer: NAMCO BANDAI Games America
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Puzzle


Graphics & Sound:

Quickspot is one of those games that isn't graphically intensive (by any stretch of the imagination), but is still fun to play and really helps relax the mind.

So what does the game's graphics consist of? Two pictures, yup that's it. One for the top screen and one, a very similar one, on the bottom. That's all I can really say about the graphics. The colors and menu systems are bright and cheery and filled with pastel colors that really helps relax you and get you ready for the game. The only other notable thing is that these pictures are often filled with various characters from Namco and Bandai games. You will see everyone from Pac-Man to The Prince of All The Cosmos and even a few RPG characters.

Just like the game's color scheme, the music of Quickspot is very happy. In Rapid Play Mode, the music for each stage starts off normal and is very pleasing, but as you get closer to that stage's time limit, it speeds up to let you know you are running out of time. This was a great audio-clue and usually got my eyes darting around the screen much faster.


Gameplay:

I said earlier that Quickspot has simple graphics, but even simpler is its gameplay. Though each mode has its own twist, the basic concept in this game is to find the differences between the top picture and the bottom picture and circle them with your stylus. That's it, no bells or whistles, just look, compare, circle. You would think that it isn't all that interesting of a game, but I found it to be a great game to pick up when I just needed a little break and wanted to get my mind off of whatever work I was doing at the time.

Quickspot has three single player modes: Rapid Play, Focus Play and Today's Fortune. Rapid Play is the one I was in the most and its the only one that might be considered a "Story Mode." Here you go through a series of stages and levels going through more and more pictures. Each stage consists of several photos in which you need to identify a difference. Once you have circled the difference, the screen changes and you have to do it again for another pair of pictures. Once you've found enough differences, you clear the stage and your brain activity gets analyzed.

Your brain activity is divided into five categories: Intuition, Concentration, Recognition, Stability and Judgement. How well you do in each category is based on how quickly you find the difference, how close your circle is to the shape of the distance, the number of times you don't see the difference, your average time to find the differences across the stage and how stable your circle is when you draw it.

As you progress through each level, you will also encounter boss stages. These are just like the normal stages, except you have to perform some other task before you can actually see the bottom image. In the first level, you have to rub the screen and reveal the bottom graphic. In another level, you have to blow into the mic in order to move leaves off of the screen. This added action really helps to make that last stage harder.

Focus Play lets you spend as much time as you like on the hundreds of images there are. In this mode, instead of looking for just one difference and moving on, you are looking for multiple differences. This is closer to what you might have played in magazines or comic strips growing up. Here it doesn't matter how exact your circle is, its just a matter of finding the difference and marking it. I couldn't help feeling like Focus Play was meant to be more of a practice mode for Rapid Play. That's what I used it for anyway.

Today's Fortune is a little different. Here you pick which fortune you want to read (Health, Work, Romance or Money), and you go through a series of images (much like Rapid Play) and based on which differences you saw (because in this mode, each screen has multiple differences), it figures out what your fortune is for that day. You can only determine your fortune for each category once per day.

Quickspot also has several multiplayer modes that do everything from having you pass the DS around, to multi-card and single-card play, so as long as you have a friend, there is no excuse not to play at least one of the multiplayer modes.


Difficulty:

Quickspot starts off easy, and if you only pick it up for a few minutes, you would think there wasn't any real challenge to it, but the further you get into Rapid Play, the more pressure you feel and the harder it is to work through the differences. I'm not really sure the later levels and stages are actually tougher though. I couldn't really tell if the differences between the images in the later parts of the mode were harder to find or if I was making it harder the longer I played the game. Either way, the more I played Quickspot, the harder it was to find the difference in the allotted time for each and every screen it would show me.

Focus Play never really gets hard, per se. Instead, every time I opened up an image, I was able to find all but one of the differences right off the bat and I would always end up puzzling over the two screens longer than I felt like I should just to find that one last item to circle. Every time that happened, I couldn't help but think about the number of times that exact same situation occurred when looking over the Sunday Comics.


Game Mechanics:

It's hard to get simpler than Quickspot when it comes to controls. Heck I've known point-and-click adventure games to have a more complex scheme than this game. All you do is take your stylus in one hand, take the DS in the other and draw circles.

The only issue I might have with its controls is how you navigate the menus. Instead of letting you tap menu options, you have to circle those as well. This got only a little annoying and is somewhat excusable when you consider the possible design and programming changes that might have had to be done in order to switch from mapping and determining circles to just recognizing and reacting to taps.

This is a great game for anyone and any age. Quickspot should be in pretty much any game library right next to Brain Age because its another one of those titles that isn't regulated to kids or teenagers. Anyone can play it and anyone can benefit from it. Its fun and simple structure, not to mention affordable price tag, makes it an easy grab for anyone, both gameplay and monetarily speaking.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Sony PlayStation 2 Burnout: Dominator Sony PlayStation Portable Full Auto 2: Battlelines

 
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