Even if you stayed wide awake during geography class, placeSpotting by Martin Fussen is a challenging game app. The object of the game (or, quizzes, to use the app’s vernacular) is to locate a geographical location or famous landmark from a Google Earth aerial view map.
From the home page, the application offers you the choice of searching for a quiz based on selected criteria, playing a quiz selected for you at random, or creating a new quiz. If you choose to search for a quiz, you can narrow the results through key word search, language, the number of times the quiz has been solved, the date it was created, and the average user rating.
After you select a quiz, a small aerial image will appear, along with a few written clues. Upon beginning your quest to solve the quiz, a large world map appears and you zoom and move the screen until you can find the same aerial view that was presented to you at the beginning of the quiz. A message will alert you once you have successfully found the correct location.
While I was able to successfully complete a quiz (apparently I know with relative authority where the 2000 Olympic Games were held, thank you very much) I did find some room for improvement. I know the iPhone screen is small enough as it is, but a world map that remained stationary in one corner with a box around the area being navigated would be extremely helpful. I found that once I zoomed in very close to the map, it was impossible to keep track of exactly were I was in relation to the nation/city.
Some of the key words were helpful, and on some of the quizzes they didn’t make much sense – however, that is to be expected when users can submit their own quizzes. Overall however, the key phrases and words are helpful in finding a quiz that interests you.
placeSpotting requires some patience and a pretty good knowledge of the world map, but it is kind of refreshing to find an app that requires both. If you’re looking for an app that makes you think, this might be the one for you.
placeSpotting is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch and requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later.