App Reviewed on: iPhone 4
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I remember the first time I stepped foot between the tall pillars of the Tate Gallery, my eyes so wide with impetuous curiosity. I was taken in by the sights, the atmosphere, that wonderful feeling of being surrounded by talent, by human industry and achievement. Then I saw it: a Cezanne Still Life. I stared at it for hours, just taking it all in; the colours, the delicate strokes, and the compellingly strange angles. And as I stared at this truly brilliant piece of art, a spark slowly grew until it frittered wildly around my brain, demanding my attention. The spark? The realization that all this art would be so much better if I could experience it in a spot-the-difference game.
20 years and one iPhone later, Art Connoisseur, a time-based spot-the-difference game with 120 different paintings. In each painting there are 5 differences to be found between two images split across the screen, sometimes obvious like a large missing piece of fruit, sometimes more subtle like a missing button on a jacket. A timer runs between the two versions of the painting, and once that timer runs out it's Game Over. To help you along, for every five puzzles you have three automatic reveals, handy when you can't spot that last wily difference. Complementing the high art is some aptly high art music like "Greensleeves" and other classical music I should probably know the names of. Also, once you're done with the spot-the-difference game you can play a sliding blocks puzzle for each painting you've unlocked.
Art Connoisseur does what it proclaims to do, albeit not much more. The spot-the-difference game works well enough, but for a couple of qualms. The first is that occasionally the precision of the touch controls is a bit off, particularly with the smaller, subtler differences. That's annoying because you get penalized. Secondly, forcing me have to complete five puzzles in a row before I can move on to the next five, and then making it that I have to replay all five puzzles if I run out of time is a little too penalizing. Nonetheless, it's easy enough to brush off those qualms and enjoy Art Connoisseur for what it is, and in particular to enjoy the sumptuous works of art being showcased, sumptuous art from the likes of Cezanne, Monet, and other painters I should probably know the names of.