Exploring dioramas is lovely in this spot-the-difference game

PC

Two near-identical camping scenes side-by-side in a screenshot from Tiny Lands.

I’m on holiday (‘holiday’) next week, and I’ll be unwinding in part by staring at and spinning the cute wee 3D dioramas of Tiny Lands. Released today, it’s a digital version of that classic activity sheet puzzle: spotting the differences between two near-identical scenes. With your screen split down the middle, the two versions will zoom and spin and rotate in harmony while you check patterns on fish, scrutinise crowds of people, and count rocks. It’s cheap and it’s nice, and that’s enough for me.

While some spot-the-differences remove items (a cop-out, if you ask me), in Tiny Lands both scenes have the lot. The differences come in size, colour, and position, a combination which I found pleasingly did derail my lazy checks of e.g. “Are there three fish by the lily pad? Yes there are three fish” when I realise “HANG ON THAT ONE IS BIGGER”. And I like that 3D does matter, with some objects obscured from many angles. Really gotta spin round and zoom in a fair bit to spot all those differences.

Look, I’ll not claim it’s difficult, but I’m stupid as hell right now and tbh probably a lot of you are too.

Thematically, it does remind me of the spot-the-difference books I had as a kid in the 80s, with stereotypical scenes from around the world then a few spooky and weird bits thrown in too. I wish I didn’t need to unlock worlds and could just flick through them all, mind. Back-of-a-fag-packet calculation, I’d say it probably has 50 levels? Sure, that’s probably more than I’ll probably do before I’m distracted by a bright colour or loud noise.

Tiny Lands is out now on Steam. A 10% launch discount brings it down to £4.67/€5.12/$6.29 until Thursday the 28th. It’s due to launch on Nintendo Switch later this year too.

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