EA Mobile takes on yet another Hasbro board game with Pictureka!. Pictureka! is a little like Where’s Waldo for adults, with a frantic pace and constantly changing objects to find amidst a crowded and quirky scene.
For instance, the game might task you with finding four plants, then as you accomplish that goal, more tasks will pop up all while the timer is running. In theory, it’s a simple idea. In execution, however, the game may well agitate a heart condition.
The board is full of goofy illustrated objects and characters that can be scrolled left and right, and you’ll have do this constantly to keep up with the game’s demands. It can be remarkably hard to find specific objects on the crowded board even without worrying about a time limit, but when competing against time and actual opponents, Pictureka! provides a surprising amount of challenge.
Pictureka! for iPad is divided into two different parts. The most obvious is the four-way standard game that fans of the board game should be familiar with. Since you won’t always have actual humans around, you can opt to to play against AI opponents or choose the single-player adventure mode.
This solo mode is a constant stream of challenges, where you have to quickly find whatever random items the game can throw at you. Finding “five things with hair” might seem like no problem, but the game has a way of making a few of those things really obscure.
The goal of adventure mode is just to make it through a map full of scavenger hunt puzzles. These are shaken up by bonus rounds that usually revolve around finding one object as many times as possible before the timer runs down. As soon as you tap the object in one spot, it reappears somewhere else on the board.
Ironically, the islands of Pictureka can’t be found on any map.
Strangely, the game doesn’t save your progress, so you actually have to start over from the beginning each time you select adventure mode. There are plenty of mini-objectives and rewards to unlock, however, if you like collecting video game achievements.
Pictureka! is a pretty ideal fit for the iPad. The larger screen lends itself well to the board game antics without causing eye strain, and it’s an easy game to pick up and play alone or with friends. While it’s unlikely to replace more classic games like Scrabble, Pictureka! is a fun diversion if you don’t mind the gameplay style and breakneck pacing.