Pictureka! is a delight for hidden object and board game fans alike.
Board game to iPhone conversions have given us some of the best games the portable platform has seen, like Carcassone and Catan. Combining the tried and tested gameplay of board games with the portability and solo options of the iPhone make for good times. Conversely, hidden object games are a big hit with the casual PC crowd. Sitting directly at the intersection of hidden object and board game sits today’s title… Pictureka!
Pictureka! the board game is, at its heart, a simple hidden object game. The board contains hundreds of little cartoon pictures that are all jumbled up, rotated, and different sizes. You’ll draw cards that tell you to pick out a certain number and type of objects, like 3 things that are cold or 2 things that belong in the kitchen. Players then scan the board searching for the applicable pictures. The iPhone version of this is a near pitch perfect rendition of the game, right down to the same distinctive artwork. Whether in single player or pass and play, you’ll scan the board frantically searching for pictures to satisfy your list.
The thing I like best about Pictureka! is how the same image might apply to many different questions. For instance, a picture of ice cream could work for something cold or something sweet. An animal could count for finding something with legs, with hair, with teeth, belonging in the jungle, etc. It’s adaptable, which means there’s no sense trying to memorize certain pictures since you’ll simply waste too much time. This is a game about recognition and thinking fast, something to sharpen the perception skills.
Pictureka! can be played either single player or multiplayer as pass and play. Whichever mode you go with, the gameplay is pretty much the same. You’re given lists of things to pick out and the faster you do it the better your score is. If you let time run out, you lose. As you progress through the game they’ll being throwing multiple lists at you at once, and adding new ones in as each round progresses.
The game is addictive as all get out, especially when you find yourself scanning over the board again and again never seeing what you need. There’s this feeling of “it HAS to be here” that keeps me playing. Then there’s the sudden click when you see the right image staring you right in the face, there the whole time.
My biggest complaint about Pictureka! is the occasional weird groupings of pictures. There are times you’ll be tapping images thinking they apply, and they simply don’t. For instance, I think an airplane should count as “something that is loud,” but the game disagrees. You don’t lose points for tapping incorrect answers, but you do waste valuable time, and in later levels that hurts more than losing points.
That’s outpaced, however, by the fun and chaotic gameplay. The art style is very unique and will have you rotating and spinning your head to take them all in during your searches. There’s a great deal of satisfaction when you clear each level, and that only grows as the levels get harder and harder. For fans of hidden object games or great family board games, this one is easy to pick out.