EA takes a stab at the casual object hunting genre, and strike gold…
Amongst the casual games littering the AppStore you won’t need to go far before you run across an object finding game. Whether it’s looking for objects within a room or environment, matching shapes or spotting the difference between two images, this simple gameplay mechanic can be used over and over again and can be pretty easy to produce. Not put off by the crowded competition, EA have create Pictureka! – a quirky hunt the cartoon picture game – that is visually and aurally hilarious, and highly addictive.
The main adventure mode is a solo trek through a cartoon world, as the game bombards you with challenge after challenge of finding objects. Let’s say for example that you must find an object in outer space. You are then presented with a scrolling collage of hand drawn cartoons, all different sizes, and shapes such as people, animals, types of food, vehicles, appliances, letters, numbers, and symbols. It is your job then to find the object found in outer space amongst these other objects within the time limit. Early on you will find these pretty quickly, but later levels not only require you to find more than one of each object, but also multiple objects, such as three hearts, four fish and six letters… all at once. It becomes a frantic affair helped in no way by the frenzied musical score that has more than a hint of Loony Tunes. It’s unforgiving too, get far and fail and it’s right back to the start for you… However, no re-played game is the same, with random challenges to play each time. It’s great fun and perfect for pick up and play.
However, it’s only when you grab 2-4 friends that the game really comes into its own. Played like a board game, you take turns passing the device (in this case an iPad) and rolling a coloured dice. If you roll blue then you must all take part in a ‘find the object fastest’ game. Here you take turns to seak out the same object which is randomly placed on the screen. The person who finds it the fastest gets the point. If you roll green, you get a solo challenge to find a random objective much like the adventure mode, win and again you gain a point and pass on to the next player for their roll. If you roll red, you all take part in a bidding war. Here the person who rolled must bet on how many objects they can find. So, for example, if the objective is to find fish, you could state that you can find three fish. The next player must then either up the wager, or fold. Whoever bets the most must then prove that they can find the required amount of fish within the time limit. If they do, then they win the point. The risk is that if you fail then you lose a point. The whole game ends with the first player to reach six points.
The pass-and-play multi-player on show here is one of the best examples of party-style play I have seen on iDevices, and I can see it being a great game to play with the family after a large Christmas feast.
With easy to pick-up-n-play game design, great cartoon visuals and a quirky musical score, not to mention the silly sounds effects, this game is sure to be a hit with casual gamers of all ages.