Previews

Hands on with Little Shop of Treasures on mobile

I spy with my little stylus

Hands on with Little Shop of Treasures on mobile

As we reported a couple of months ago, RealArcade is optimising several of its titles for touchscreen, including hits like Super Collapse, Diamond Detective, Cake Mania, 7 Wonders, Playman Extreme Running, and Trivial Pursuit Deluxe, as well as Burger Rush and Bounce Out, which we'll be reviewing soon.

The game perhaps most central to RealArcade's prescient move into the touchscreen world is Little Shop of Treasures, a conversion of its hugely successful web-based I-Spy game of the same name.

The object, as with I-Play's recent mobile version of the similarly popular Paparazzi Snapshot, is simply to find objects that have been woven into a busy tapestry of odd clutter. You play as a new resident of Huntingdon, and it's your job to help the local shopkeepers by digging out whichever items their customers request.

At the end of every week, you earn enough money to make minor repairs to your own shop. Presumably, you've realised that the insane disorganisation of your rivals will give you a competitive edge, and so have decided to enter the market.

There are five shops in all, repeated at random over 25 levels, each of which requires you to find more objects than the last, with the time limit shrinking by 30 seconds every five levels.

Amongst these shops are distributed 70 objects. That's 14 per location, if you can't be bothered to do the maths: more than enough to keep you busy. I played for more than hour in order to write this preview, and rarely came across the same object twice.

The objects you have to find are different every time you play, and some of these are extremely obscure, not only in the sense that they're often almost entirely concealed by other objects, but in the sense that you sometimes won't know what the hell the customer's actually asking for. Anybody know what a 'bobber' is?

Of course you don't.

For that reason, it's possible to get three clues every level, to help you uncover the more obstinate pieces of ware.

As you make your way through the game's five weeks, you unlock locations in the Blitz mode, which allows you to find all of a level's hidden objects in as short a time as possible. Blitz is fun in itself, but even more useful as a practice mode, to help you memorise the locations of the items.

The big sell is the stylus control, which gives Little Shop of Treasures a massive advantage over Paparazzi Snapshot. Tapping on items when you find them is a breeze, and suits this niche genre perfectly.

Visually, Little Shop of Treasures is rich, with an old-fashioned look and crisp, necessarily intricate graphics. It's also very difficult, and will probably take you several days of reasonably steady play to get all the way through.

Click 'Track it!' to hear word of the review, which is on its way.