Review: Little Things

One of my favorite discoveries on the iPad is this fabulous little game from KlickTock that takes advantage of the iPad’s generous screen size in ways that would never work on the iPhone. Little Things, as the name implies, has you searching through collages of hundreds of cartoony objects for specific items. The faster you find them, the better your score. And it’s a fully tactile game; everything about it requires your fingertips to do the playing.

A progress meter tracks your percentage of completion of the game; a feat that demands no small amount of skill and perseverance. You’ll need to zoom in and navigate around the collage in order to find everything you’re looking for, which sometimes is just multiple instances of a single object, and other times is a long list of different objects. I found the Speed Round most difficult, as it only reveals a single object on the list to you at a time, after you locate the last item on the list.

Little Things strongly encourages you to use its hint feature, wherein the section of the collage is highlighted where you’ll find the object you’re looking for. The game wants you to use the hint system so badly that there are no consequences or penalties for its use. The circular highlight shrinks gradually, and if you can find the object before the light encircles only the item you’re looking for, you still get credit for it.

Your objective is to complete the puzzle boards in the shortest amount of time you can, and if you do, you’re rewarded with a jigsaw puzzle piece. Once you have all the pieces of one jigsaw puzzle, the game presents you with that puzzle to solve. If you can solve it, you’ll unlock a new collage layout for future play. Up to four different players and games can be saved at a time, and I didn’t notice the game boards repeating between iterations of the game, leading me to conclude that the collages and challenge lists are randomly assigned, though they do grow in difficulty as the game progresses.

The pieces themselves are cute and instantly-recognizable, although there were a few times that I didn’t know what the item was that the game asked me to find. Most of the time these items were plainly obvious, but one instance in particular sticks out in my mind: a list asked me to find a single “tablet” on the game board, and I spent several minutes scouring the collage for something resembling a clipboard or a notepad. Finally I hit the hint button and continued searching and searching as the round light shrank and shrank, finally landing on a pill. Those kinds of things were very few and far between though, and if anything, actually added to the quirky fun of the game.

All in all, it takes a good six-to-eight hours to reach the final jigsaw puzzle and complete the game at 100%, but Little Things isn’t really a game that’s meant to be measured in such terms. Everything about it, from its simple game mechanic to the slow way its levels fade in and unhurriedly show you your score at the end, is extremely relaxing. Time does factor in, but not in any way that will make you tense.

The replay value is low, as once you achieve the 100% completion, there’s little incentive to keep playing the “random” puzzle boards it will provide you with, unless you just enjoy the search. A handful of badges are given based on achieving various feats, but they don’t unlock anything additional or add to the experience in any tangible way.

But it’s just plain nice to find a game that’s so perfectly designed and executed that it’s a joy to look at and manipulate. Everything about the game works exactly as it should, in an uncomplicated, intuitive way, and I didn’t experience a single crash in all my hours with it.

Little Things is so neatly designed and fun to play that my wife and I wound up fighting over who would get to play it each evening! (Our almost-three-year-old son enjoyed getting on the action as well.)

Highly recommended.

About Robin Parrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

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