Thursday, April 25, 2024

Six Free Alternatives to GeoGuessr

I am a huge fan of GeoGuessr, but unfortunately without becoming a paid subscriber it is now a very limited game. I don't blame GeoGuessr for developing its subscription model. The Google Maps API isn't cheap and I'm sure Google sends GeoGuesssr huge invoices every month. However that does mean there is a huge potential market for a free Street View game. A market that OpenGuessr now hopes to exploit.

Wikidata Guessr

a photo of the Deutschhaus in Mainz and a small inset world map

Let's start with the hardest challenge! Wikidata Guessr is a fun game which involves trying to identify the locations shown in images randomly selected from the Wikidata knowledge base. 

The only problem with Wikidata Guessr is that identifying the locations depicted in still images can be incredibly difficult. The difficulty level of Wikidata Guessr means that I would personally start with some of the other GeoGuessr games listed on this page, especially if you are a novice GeoGuessr player. 

If you are a GeoGuessr pro then you will probably love the challenge posed by Wikidata Guessr. If you do find Wikidata Guessr challenging then you might find some of the thematic rounds (such as parliament buildings, rollwercoasters or mountains) a little easier to play.


a screenshot of backdrop showing the painting of a town square nest to an map of Europe
Backdrop is probably the best game ever devised in the history of mankind (full disclosure - I developed Backdrop myself, so I may be a little biased).

Backdrop is a map based game which is somewhat similar to the very popular GeoGuessr game. However in Backdrop instead of Google Maps Street View images you have to identify the locations depicted in famous pictures painted by some of history's greatest artists.

In GeoGuessr you can stroll around in Street View to pick-up clues as to the location that you have been dropped in. In Backdrop if you don't immediately recognize the scene depicted in the painting there are only a couple of clues available to you. Usually the title of the painting is a huge clue as to the location that is depicted. If that doesn't help then the name of the gallery where the painting is located might be a clue as to the location shown in the artwork (although it might also be a complete red herring). 

Each game of Backdrop involves identifying the locations of 5 paintings chosen at random. You win points based purely on how close you click to the correct location.

You might also enjoy Backdrop.Tripgeo, a series of GeoGuessr type games that I have developed with Tripgeo. These individual games require you to identify the locations depicted in other types of images, these include vintage photos, postcards, movie stills, satellite images and even holiday snaps. 


screenshot of OpenGuessr showing the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul

Very much like GeoGuessr the new OpenGuessr is an online geography game that uses Google Maps Street View images to drop players in random locations around the world. Players must then use the clues from their surroundings to guess where they are on the map. The closer their guess is to the actual location, the more points they earn. 

The 'open' in OpenGuessr very much refers to being open or free to play. The game itself is not open-source and it doesn't use open-sourced map data or panoramic imagery. In fact like GeoGuessr the new OpenGuessr game uses Google Map's proprietary data and imagery. Which does make me wonder how long OpenGuessr can survive itself before it will have to start charging users to play.


If you are looking for other free alternatives to GeoGuessr then you might also enjoy TimeGuessr. TimeGuessr is another very similar game to GeoGuessr - except in TimeGuessr you are asked to identify the location shown in a photograph rather than the location of a Google Street View panorama. 

As the name 'TimeGuessr' suggests this game also comes with an additional requirement. Like Geoguessr this game requires you to guess a location by dropping a pin on an interactive map, however in TimeGuessr you are also required to guess the time, or rather the 'date' when the image was captured. For me the extra dimension of time in TimeGuessr actually makes it more fun to play. Now as well as using the visual clues to try to determine where in the world a photograph was taken you also have to use the same visual clues to work out in what year the picture was captured. 


screenshot of cityguessr showing a street view of a rainy street in Bristol

GeoGuessr fans should also have no problem understanding how to play Cityguessr. In Cityguessr you are shown a Street View panorama of a random city. All you have to do is identify the city using the visual clues (street signs, street furniture, architectural signs etc) within the Street View images. 

In most cities you can explore a little by using the arrow signs in Street View to move yourself around. However you only have 135 seconds before you have to make a guess. Unfortunately sometimes Cityguessr gives you a user submitted Street View and you are unable to explore - which can make identifying the correct city very difficult. It's still fun to try though and if you do guess right it makes it even more satisfying.

City Guesser

City Guesser is a fun location guessing game, which requires you to identify a location revealed in a video and point to it on an interactive map. 

The game shows you a random video of someone walking around a city or a famous monument. You have to pick up on the visual clues in the video (such as the languages & words used in street signs and the design of the street furniture) to identify where you think the video was shot. Once you have made your guess you just need to click on the location on an interactive map and you are awarded points based on how close you got to the real location. 

There are a number of different games that you can play. You can choose to view videos just from one country - or you can play either a Worldwide or Europe game - featuring videos from across the world or from just within Europe.

1 comment:

Roger said...