You know what’s nice? When you play a game that you knew absolutely nothing about, but find yourself completely hooked in and loving every minute you spend with it. That’s exactly what happened when I played Hidden Through Time, the hidden-object title from developer Crazy Monkey Studios that made me realise that there is another genre in gaming that I adore. I think I’ll happily spend the rest of my gaming days looking for hidden objects…
Hidden Through Time has a very simple premise: players have to search through an assortment of isometric maps in order to uncover hidden objects. It’s basically the same as ‘Where’s Wally?’ (or ‘Waldo’ for you American folk), except rather than searching for a specky bloke in a striped jumper, you’re looking for an assortment of objects that are related to different periods of time. Some of these will be big and obvious, whilst some will be small and demand a real keen eye as you take a REALLY close look at everything on the map in the hope of finding it. With the ability to look inside buildings or interact with different pieces of the environment with a click of a button though, there are plenty of ways to dig through Hidden Through Time’s maps.
I absolutely LOVED the ‘Where’s Wally?’ books when I was younger (I even had the more adult-orientated ‘Where’s Willy?’ but the less said of that the better), so I had one heck of a good time playing Hidden Through Time. The gameplay loop of simply searching through bustling maps to find hidden objects is just so addictive, whilst the subtle hint that the game gives you for each object’s location was typically informative enough to ensure that I was scouring through the right locations. Sure, there was the occasional object that would be seemingly impossible to find, but there’s got to be a little bit of a challenge, right?
There are multiple levels on offer in Hidden Through Time that, as the name suggests, are spread through different periods of time. You start off in the Stone Age and see plenty of cavemen and dinosaurs, but you’ll eventually go through Ancient Egypt, the Wild West, and even the Medieval period as you progress. You can move between levels by just finding a small selection of the objects in each one, but believe me, it’s hard to resist finding every hidden objects on the list – especially when you see there’s just one more item that’s eluding you.
As if the levels on offer weren’t enough, Hidden Through Time also features a level builder that allows you to create and share your own levels. Admittedly, it can be a bit fiddly to get used to, but there are tutorials in place to ensure that you’ll be creating your own hidden object-filled environments in no time. I actually spent a lot of time with my nephew creating and solving each other’s levels, and honesty, we had so much fun exploring our (often bizarre) creations.
I played through Hidden Through Time on the Nintendo Switch and mainly played on the portable mode, so I had to deal with a smaller screen when searching for objects. It all worked really well though, with the zoom function making it easy to look around and the crisp visuals ensuring that no object was more difficult to find because of a lower resolution. It’s worth noting that the Nintendo Switch version of the game comes with touch controls too, which was a big convenience when trying to look closer at the map and flick between areas quickly.
Hidden Through Time’s concept is simple, yet its object-hunting gameplay was so charming and fun that I found myself completely hooked in. Add to that a level creator that allows you to share your creations online and you’ll quickly find that the object-hunting possibilities are endless… what more could you want?
Listen, if you’re not a fan of object-hunting games then this isn’t going to be for you. If you spent hours happily scouring through the pages of ‘Where’s Wally?’ books when you were younger though, you’re going to have a blast with Hidden Through Time.
Developer: Crazy Monkey Studios
Publisher: Crazy Monkey Studios
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC