Headspin: Storybook is a collection of spot-the-difference puzzles presented in a giant 3D pop-up book – but this isn’t the kind of story you’ll want to read before bedtime. The pastoral setting, which evokes a medieval village, is deceptively peaceful: an unrelenting timer and increasingly challenging puzzles make this a game of reflexes rather than relaxation.
The left and right pages of the pop-up book are supposed to be mirror images of each other. Your job is to spot the objects on each page that look askew – a tree turned the wrong way, a flag facing left instead of right, a line of trees angling upward instead of downward – and click on them to flip them around and into the right position to preserve the mirror-like appearance.
Before each level starts, you’re told how many items you need to find, and how much time you have to find them. The quicker you are, the more points you earn. There are 20 levels in total, and with each level the time either decreases or the number of items you need to find increases. By the end, you’ll have to find 9 items in 5 seconds.
Headspin: Storybook boasts pleasant music and a nice aesthetic. It’s interesting to watch a town slowly evolve before your eyes as the scenery turns from farmland to paved roads and brick buildings with little townsfolk stick figures wandering around (and providing an added distraction to boot). It can get increasingly difficult to see the differences between certain buildings, such as the fruit stands which look identical when flipped in either direction except for small differences on their sides, but I suppose that’s all part of the challenge.
No, it’s not easy, nor is it particularly relaxing (if you’re the kind of person who gets flustered if a clock is ticking down in the background, forget it!), but there is a certain satisfaction to be had in reaching the end of such steep challenge. If you do manage to conquer all 20 levels and “beat” the game, you can post your overall score online and compare with people around the world. Of course, it then remains to play through the game again and again to try to rise to the top of the leaderboard. Levels appear to be randomly generated, so you won’t see the same one twice. Another nice touch is that if you fail out of a particular level you don’t have to start all over again – you can replay that level for as long as it takes, albeit with new scenery each time.
Is it a relatively throwaway title? Sure. But Headspin: Storybook is a good nothing if not a stimulating workout for your eyes, brain and reflexes.