What’s got you stressed out right now? Current events? Relationship troubles? Frustrations with your career? If you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed, maybe the best game to play isn’t some grand strategy title or high-octane first-person shooter. Perhaps you could shoot for something a little bit simpler. Say, a title withing the prolific genre of hidden object games?
Among these, you will find Hidden Through Time. If I’m honest, I expected to be bored once I learned this was the game I’d be reviewing. I get bored and impatient looking for my wallet before I go out, much less doing something similar for its own sake. But to my surprise, Hidden Through Time managed to seep into me and drown that jaded, cynical impulse… if only for a few hours at a time. Apparently, I’m really into clicking on cute drawings of dinosaurs while soothing music plays in the background. Who knew?
- What is Hidden Through Time? It’s a hidden object game featuring chill music and colorful 2D-style graphics. With various clues at your disposal, scour different eras in search of weird and wonderful secrets.
- Reviewed On: PC
- Price: $7.99
- Developer: Crazy Monkey Studios
- Release Date: March 12, 2020
- Website: www.hiddenthroughtime.com
Tickets to the Rock Expo
The first few moments of Hidden Through Time immediately establish the tone and atmosphere — that is, cute, relaxing, and easygoing. The art style is simple, colorful, and whimsical, and the music, featuring a lot of acoustic guitar and piano, is calm and soothing, if a little repetitive after a while. Don’t expect a complex game with maddening puzzles to stump you. Instead, expect a charming little world packed with adorable visuals, clever hiding places, and clear attention to detail (even if a few particular drawings fall short of their surroundings). The game is less about the satisfaction of solving a difficult riddle and more about the joy of watching ancient Egyptians accidentally lock a live pharao in a pyramid.
The game’s humor is generally silly and irreverent, with some internet references peppered throughout. While nothing made me laugh out loud, I usually had a smile on my face just from combing through levels, hearing the various grunts, growls, and chirps of humans and animals as I clicked them. It’s also a nice touch to be able to click on buildings and see inside, both because there are plenty of hidden objects squirreled away therein, and because they are usually little pieces of storytelling and worldbuilding unto themselves. Typically, the levels featured are camps or villages or complexes with moving parts, with buildings like shops and churches and storage, among other things. The game invites you to explore a living world, and it doesn’t skimp on portraying all the little gears on which that world turns.
While Hidden Through Time’s major charms stem from its aesthetics, it’s no slouch in terms of mechanics. Simply scanning a level for hidden objects quickly becomes monotonous, but hovering over the objects in question reveals clues about their location. It’s a nice bit of puzzling and deduction, working out precisely what these clues indicate. Looking deeper is also a rewarding endeavor. There are many cute touches and visual gags scattered throughout levels, waiting for discovery (just wait ’til you get to the trumpeting mammoth).
Overall, Hidden Through Time is the sort of game you might play to relax and unwind at the end of a stressful day. It’s not extraordinarily complex — although individual do maps get pretty huge — but it does provide a pleasant, low-pressure diversion for a couple hours. What’s more, if you’re feeling creative, you can use the map editor to create levels of your own. Hidden object games may not belong to the most exciting genre in gaming, but Hidden Through Time proves that they can be consistently absorbing, atmospheric, and delightful.
Zoom Out: Verdict
Audiovisuals - 7/10
Hidden objects and clues - 7/10
Map Editor - 7/10
Hidden Through Time is a game that knows exactly what it wants to do. The question you have to ask yourself is this: do I need a little time to unwind, and will seeking out and clicking on grunting shamans and shining ankhs and running pigs be a good outlet for that? If the answer is yes, and you would look forward to doing some casual puzzling and idle poking and tinkering, then Hidden Through Time might be worth your while.
- Cute aesthetic
- Fun, lighthearted tone
- Clever hints and hiding spots
- Somewhat light on content
- Music can get a little repetitive
- Certain objects are less detailed and well-drawn compared to their peers