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Globetrotter XL

  • Currently 4.3/5
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Rating: 4.3/5 (105 votes)
Comments (28) | Views (8,401)

GrimmrookGlobetrotter XLIf you were to tell me that finding random places on an unlabeled map could be addictive and fun, I would have laughed at you. Very hard. Then you would have shown me Globetrotter XL, and I would have been forced to stop laughing and then admit your superiority over me.

Lucky for me, I already know about Globetrotter XL, and having been sucked in by its deceptive appeal I now know better than to laugh at people that walk around and randomly tell other people that geography can be fun. Ha ha! I bet it is you now looking at me like I'm a lunatic! Don't be so smug.

Globetrotter is as simple as it gets. You're given a map and you're given a location, and you must click on where you think that location is on the map. Sure, this is easy if you're looking for New York, United States or London, England, but good luck with Tunis, Tunisia on your first go, and believe me, Australia can be trickier than you may think.

There are ten levels, and for each level you get a set number of locations, and a point goal. Meet the goal, by getting as close to the location as you possibly can, and you advance. Fail to meet the point goal, and it's back to the very beginning for you.

Oh, yeah, and then on level 7, the borders between nations disappear. Good luck with that.

Analysis: I first have to mention that Globetrotter XL is a clone of a Facebook application that has been out for a while: Traveler IQ Challenge. Each variation has its good points and its bad points.

For Globetrotter, the nice large map is definitely a plus, as is the geological definition. When the borders get taken away, sometimes the only thing that you can use to find the inland locations are the visible geological formations.

Another positive is the soundtrack (which can be muted if you find it getting on your nerves). As you hunt down Burkina Faso, your ears are treated to a wide spectrum of music, from a funky disco beat to a track that sounds like it was ripped straight from one of Final Fantasy VII's darker scenes.

But the most intriguing thing is the game itself. I still don't fully understand why it's so compelling. It's an e-version of sticking thumb tacks in a map on a cork board. And yet, you feel driven to push further, because now you remember which country Zambia is, and you're not going to screw it up this time! To this effect, the levels with their point goals add to the addiction. Falling short of the next level by only a hundred points practically guarantees another go because you were this close!

There are a few things that I think Globetrotter could have done better. For one, an achievement system could have helped. Unless you are a geography savant, it'll take you forever to beat the game, but once you've finally completed level 10, there's very little incentive to do it all over again.

Also, the point system could use some work. Instead of awarding points proportional to the distance between your guess and the actual location, the system here is somewhat tiered. You get about 500 points for getting a strike (hitting the target dead on) or being very close to a strike, you get about 300 points for being close, and anything outside of close range is about 150 points or less. This is most noticeable when you need only four hundred points to make it to the next level, but because there are no four hundred point scores you essentially need a strike to move on.

But aside from this, Globetrotter XL remains a surprisingly addictive experience. If this game (*cough* or maybe the internet in general *cough*) were around when I was in grade school, I might have done a whole lot better in geography.

Play Globetrotter XL


This really was more engaging than you'd anticipate.

Maybe it's there for logged-in users, but what would make this more of a lasting time-sink would be record keeping of personal high scores (and, even better, personal average score).


Got up to level 7, where it suddenly became very hard: nation borders disappeared and the timer ran down very quickly. I was within striking distance but completely blew it on my last chance and ended up 200 points short of the required score to advance to level 8. Still, 10633 isn't bad, I guess.


"Unless you are a geography savant, it'll take you forever to beat the game"
Um, thank you (?). I beat it on my first try. Definitely a fun game, at least for a little while. I just wish the map was a bit bigger. The difference between a great score and a perfect score is literally a few pixels for something like Monaco.

paradox28 March 5, 2009 10:30 PM

I beat it on my second try! First time I lost on round 4. I was almost done for in round 8 but the last two locations were well known or in countries that are small. Got 21052 points! Thought it's nowhere near the scores of the registered players on this game, I'm definitely patting myself on the back tonight.

Good game; the losing of the borders later on is definitely a challenge. The gradations of the different lands definitely help. Though I think it would be a good added challenge if on the final level, level 10, they took out the gradations.


Briguy: if you beat the game on your first try, you are definitely a geography savant ("savant," meaning "learned individual").

I got up to level ten and managed to score 17254, but I failed to reach the required score. My concentration was a bit off--I misread one of the targets and was so far off the I put myself completely out of the running.

Well, I think that's all for me for now.


Terrific little game. I'm a natural level 6-7 geo-wiz, but with a little effort I made it to level 9.

A little Germany/France/Italy heavy (how many cities can these countries possibly have?)


I would enjoy this game more if the "to-beat" score was cumulative, so you weren't punished for having, for example, 3 cities in China or Russia in a row. (Or, if you are out of the Americas, 3 cities in the US or Canada in a row.)

Otherwise, wasn't there a game just like this (not facebook) just a while back? That one, I thought, WAS cumulative. It might have been an advergame.

likephilshead March 6, 2009 12:13 AM

I recognized some of the music from JK Rowlings website... no... I'm not a Harry Potter nerd. Well, maybe I am.


Can't get passt level 9!... knowing that there are only 10 makes this more frustrating! :P

Anyway, if done well, I don't have anything against clones! :D

HairySammoth March 6, 2009 3:59 AM

I'd love to see a slightly more nuanced scoring system as well - a bonus for getting the pin in the correct country as opposed to just physically close, for example. Weighting the scoring to reward accuracy over speed would be nice as well; as it stands, I often find myself jabbing the pin down near enough, as it's worth taking the accuracy hit for the sake of a higher time bonus. Combine that with a zoom-in cursor feature or similar for the Bosnias, Andorras and Faroe Islands etc. and you've got an all-time classic!


@Hairy: Actually, the scoring is weighted very heavily toward accuracy over timing. If you get within 50km it multiplies your distance score by 5, and if you get within 200km it multiplies your distance score by 3. But the time bonus is not included in the multiplication, so it's always better to get more accuracy, which could mean a difference of hundreds of points, at the expense of a few dozen points in time bonuses.


I've been playing this game for some days now and I really like it. At first I was surprised about how little my knowledge about worl geography. Well, I know that Bob Dylan song since maybe forever, but I didn't know where exactly Mozambique was until few days ago. I took a little pride about knowing places like Hiroshima, Samarkand, Kabul, Bagdat, Katmandu, and felt a bit ashamed missing New York and Sydney by some hundred kms. I'm still not good about USA and China.

Anyway, if you have troubles about the size of the map like me, the game has a fullscreen option. A big map is a big help for strikes.

[Edit: I've just changed the links in the review above to point to the author's site where there is a full-screen option available. -Jay]

Anonymous March 6, 2009 12:14 PM

We used to play this game at Geosense
it allows multiplayer modes and US only as well as world.


The thing about countries like Russia, the USA and China is that even if you know that the city in question is somewhere in those countries, that doesn't really help you too much. On the other hand, for most European countries just clicking in the right country is enough to send the audience clapping. Come on, how difficult is it to click within 150 km of Amsterdam if you know where the Netherlands are?

Lebnene March 6, 2009 8:34 PM

Hi 5 for the creator, lovely game, although it did make me feel like an ignorant! hehe

DylPickle March 7, 2009 11:21 AM

Ah, this is tough. I got to level 6, and then lost by about 50 points. Good game!


I played this recently on a French site, which I prefer because it has a zoom function. I know the site linked here has a "Full Screen" option, but it seems to make my mouse go very sluggish and the countdown timer is taking 2-3 times longer than it ought to.

One major criticism I have is that it often repeats the same place twice, or more, within a game. I'm sure it wouldn't take much in the way of coding to prevent that happening.

When I originally played it, it took me 8 attempts to complete, with slightly over 20,000 points. And the funny thing was: I remember getting Albuquerque on the nose (purely by luck) and missing Bradford (UK, a city I live about 10 miles from, by 80km! :-D

queen-of-diamonds March 7, 2009 9:20 PM

Wow with Russia and the little Pacific Islands is like a lottery for me! I need to go back to high school XD!


I can't actually get to the game. I keep ending up on a page with current leadership and when I click "play" it takes me back to the home page. When I click on the game on the home page I get sent to the leadership page again. I'm going round in circles!!


Bec, you can try registering. That seemed to solve the same problem for my hubby.


Surprisingly addictive. There is luck involved, though. Weirdly enough, I keep on getting strikes on Guangzhou, South Korea, and missing my hometown of San Francisco by ~100k! I finally managed a high score of 30,758.


as you play the game trying to beat the game..
start memorizing coastal cities... and islands. :D


well it may have taken me 5-6 tries but at least i went to level 9 from the get go. Some weird Chinese cities made it impossible from time to time .... :P

my top score was 19813 and now i think i can put this game to rest.



Misreading Austria for Australia = not so smart

I feel you should get some bonus cred for at least knowing where the country is. Though there were definitely a few countries I had no idea about and just got lucky (as much as I'd love to think I'm a geography nerd, Tajikistan is not easy to find when you've got 8 seconds to look for it)

nonbeing April 18, 2010 2:26 PM

awesome awesome awesome game!!! Woohoo!! :D


@ Marbles - I should hope not, Guangzhou is in China.

I got really pissed off at this game when it made a blatant spelling error for my hometown (Edinburgh, which they wrote as Edinburg, which like doesn't exist..).


There is a 3D version of this game available for Android, called Globe Master, free at google play store


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