Pictureka! in Review – Can You See Me Now?

This game is insane, and of course I mean that in a good way.  Just listen to the different sounds that you can assign to your profile and you’ll quickly realize that the people who put this together had a lot of fun doing it and wanted to share that fun with us.  Pictureka! is based off of a board game, and after spending some time playing the electronic version I can definitely imagine that given the right group of people this would make a great party game.  If you’re looking for a “hidden object” game that offers something completely different, a great family game, or simply something that will both entertain and drive you nuts at the same time, Pictureka is your game.

Pictureka allows you to set up to four profiles, and in VS mode you can have up to four players (note the coincidence).  Of course this also means if a fifth person wants to get in on the fun at some point they have to share someone else’s profile or wipe it out.  If you don’t really care about that, you don’t need to set up anything at all – human players default to player1 through player4, and you can use them all without altering them.

The game itself has two modes – Adventure and Versus.  Either way you’ll be presented with several screens that contain a lot of objects on them.  You’ll also be given a target, whether it’s a specific picture or a description like “4 teeth”, and you must find the number of specified objects within a time limit.  The descriptions force you to think outside the box, because “4 teeth” could literally mean just a picture of a tooth, or it could mean a picture of something that has teeth as part of it.  Don’t always look for the obvious.

You swipe the screen to scroll the view back and forth, and tap on an object to select it.  A correct selection makes the object go away and get replaced with something else.  An incorrect object shows an X above it for a second, though it doesn’t seem to affect your time at all.

In Adventure mode you’ll travel across a series of islands, and the amount of items you have to find each step of the way will increase, while the amount of time decreases.  Also note that your time bank is shared across all levels on an island, so if you use most of your time on the first level you’ll have to be really quick when completing the rest of the island.  It does appear that you get bonus time when finding the last item in a group, but it’s not a lot of extra time.  There are also bonus rounds at the end of each island where you just have to tap everything you can that isn’t a bomb.

In Versus mode there are a variety of challenges to complete in.  You might have to see who can find a certain object faster.  Another challenge has you bid on how many of a certain object you can find, and the person with the highest bid has to either make good on the bid or lose a card.  Whatever the challenge, it’s all about finding objects and earning cards.  The first player to earn six cards wins.

The visual style is wacky to say the least.  It reminds me of one of those specialized humor card lines from hallmark.  If this were some normal side scrolling type of game, the graphics most likely wouldn’t cut it.  Here they work quite well.  The problem is that sometimes because of the goofy visuals it’s hard to tell what something is, but that usually doesn’t impede the game play at all.  I do really like the map in adventure mode, as each time you beat a level more animated things get added to the map.

The sound effects are just as crazy.  Leave the game on a menu screen some time and just listen.  The different noises really have nothing to do with the game, but you’ll find yourself chuckling at them after a while.  The music is fun and intense.  Sometimes it drives you crazy and makes it hard to concentrate, and other times it’s quite motivational in its hectic nature.

Pictureka is a great game.  The single player mode is a blast, and versus mode can be quite amusing given the right person or people to play against (don’t play against yourself – you’re not THAT entertaining).  A wi-fi mode would be nice for versus, but it’s manageable having to pass the device.  Just be prepared to start picking out random objects in the landscape as you’re driving down the road…

App Summary
Title: Pictureka! Developer: Electronic Arts
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.5 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 17.8 MB
  • Frantic fun
  • Wacky visuals
  • Upbeat music
  • Can drive you nuts


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