Developer: GeoGuessr AB
Size: 71 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
GeoGuessr isn’t a new app. Having launched as a web-based game way back in 2013, it eventually made its way to the App Store in late 2015.
However, the game’s smart focus on geographic discovery has seen it take on fresh relevance at a time of global travel restrictions and enforced home-schooling and it’s had something of a renaissance of late.
GeoGuessr is a casual geography-based quiz game, but one that requires a little creative sleuthing to solve its puzzles when your own local knowledge proves insufficient. And at its heart is something most of us will be familiar with – Google Street View.
Each round of GeoGuessr presents you with a first person street-level view of a random location in the world and a timer, the length of which can be adjusted prior to the first puzzle. Your task is to figure out where in the world you are before that timer runs out.
In time-honored Google Street View fashion, you can swipe the screen to look around your surroundings, and tap to move around. Once you have an idea of where you are, tap the green button in the bottom right corner and drop a pin on the provided world map.
You’ll receive a score depending on how close to the real location you get, then move on to the next puzzle in the sequence.
It’s a very simple concept, and indeed it might seem rather limited on paper. Either you know a location from first hand knowledge or you don’t, right? But it’s surprising how close you can get if you’re attentive to the clues.
On one occasion we found ourselves placed in the middle of a nondescript office complex, with pine trees and European cars parked in the lot. Based on these initial clues we could have been anywhere in northern Europe or Scandinavia. But a quick pan and a pinch-zoom revealed some French writing and a reference to Albert Camus on the side of one of those buildings. Paris seemed a fair bet, and so it proved to be.
The GeoGuessr app itself is extremely stripped back and basic, with only a few rudimentary options for pass-the-handset multiplayer. There’s a very simplistic progression system, too, in the form of an in-game currency that can be earned and used to unlock level packs. You can feel its age and humble heritage, in truth.
But the core GeoGuessr concept is a resilient one, and the execution is never less than solid. As a light, breezy, educational brain teaser it remains uniquely entertaining – especially if you find yourself pining to get out and see the world.