A few months ago, I was introduced to a board game called Spy Guy. It was provided to the school that my wife works at, and she needed to test it beforehand in order to understood how it plays. It turned out to be a simple co-operative game that had you finding clues under pressure in order to stop a thief from making his escape.

Despite its simplicity though, we found it incredibly addictive (seriously, if you have kids then I would wholeheartedly recommend it for some family fun!), and I was incredibly excited when the publisher offered us a review code for a videogame interpretation of the game. It sounded like a perfect fit for the Switch, and I couldn’t wait to dive in.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review code.

Spy Guy takes place in Treflik City, a friendly little town inhabited by the green Treflik people. They usually go about their lives in peace, but sometimes a criminal comes by causing trouble and the great detective Spy Guy has to track them down and bring them to justice!


Despite the narrative focusing on the pursuit of a nefarious crook, the videogame version doesn’t actually involve any kind of chase element. He may appear in the scenes as you hunt down the listed objects, but he’s pretty easy to miss due to lack of any interaction with him.

As a hidden object game, each scene will have you tracking down a handful of objects that are visible within a certain portion of the game’s map. These may be large or small, but they’re usually not too difficult to track down. There can be the odd issue where multiple of the same object appear in the image and only one of them is selectable (despite both being identical), which can be frustrating since the game also has some unresponsive touch controls that have you questioning at times as to whether or not the game is just failing to register your input. An unfortunate issue, but the game’s lack of difficulty means that it hardly makes the game unplayable.

Those who are looking for more of a challenge can select the game’s challenge and speedrun modes, which places a time limit on each stage, but even these shouldn’t challenge most people as the number of objects given within the time limit is pretty low and even younger gamers should be able to find them all quickly with ease.


And that, unfortunately, is the root of the game’s issues. There’s just not a whole lot of involvement or stakes to make things interesting. Whilst the board game has you finding objects efficiently to catch up with an ever moving crook, the videogame’s smaller scale and object variety ends up just making the experience feel dull rather fast. There are a handful of different maps to choose from, but they don’t do a huge amount to change things up. To make matters worse, the game lacks any kind of music, instead opting for bird’s chirping, which only also adds to the game’s overall tedium.

It’s a shame really, as the visual presentation is actually really nice. Had they gone for something more akin to the board game (and perhaps even added a multiplayer co-operative mode), I could see the game being really addictive, but unfortunately the current form just gets stale rather fast. There’s an additional jigsaw mode for you to have a go at, featuring some neat pictures, but the game’s unresponsiveness makes those feel far more frustrating rather than fun. And considering that the game can only be played in handheld mode, these issues feel far less forgivable.

Ultimately, I think the videogame adaption of Spy Guy could have learnt an extra lesson or two from its board game counterpart. The core presentation is good, aside from the lack of any music, but there’s just not a whole lot to the actual gameplay. With many of the objects and environments being similar, you’ll likely tire of it long before clearing all 120 levels.