Find 500 Differences is a find-the-difference puzzle game. The player, using excellent vision and memory, must compare nearly identical, high-quality photographs across 104 levels of play to find 500 unique differences.
The game alerts the player to the number of differences between the images on any level by placing a tracker beneath a digital clock near the bottom-center of the screen. If the player sees 0/5 at the start of a level, for example, they must find five differences to complete the round. The game tracks the amount of time a player takes to find them all.
When the player finds a difference, they select it. A green ring then forms around it. Differences usually involve missing objects, different objects in the same spot, and objects altered to have different colors, shades of color or patterns.
Find 500 Differences also provides the player with a useful tool labeled with a magnifying glass. The icon helps them find a difference by placing a flashing ring around it. The player can find up to three on the first level. If they use up all the hints, then they usually only receive one free new one when they access the next pair of images.
When the player performs well by finding the differences quickly, they receive three white-outlined golden stars. If they click an area that isn't different, they receive a penalty of extra time added to the clock. If they take or add too much time, they receive only one star.