Like a lot of people, I’ve been cooped up at home a lot lately. Indefinite work from home, online classes, less for-fun socializing… needless to say, it’s an anxiety-inducing time, and one of my big things lately is searching for games that help pass the time, relieve stress, and let me enjoy the (much more frequent) quiet moments in my life. Fortunately, Crazy Monkey Studios’ Hidden Through Time came into my life.
Less dramatic than my usual brand of hidden object games – which are often known for intense plotlines – Hidden Through Time embraces all the wonder and joy and frustration of a Where’s Waldo book, in an pretty, interactive package. On the bottom of your screen you’ll see a selection of items, people, and animals to search your map for. Hovering over each picture will give you a small clue about where you’ll find it. Once you’ve found enough, you can move on to the next map if you’d like, or you can continue trying to find everything. You’ll move through three distinct eras as you explore time.
It’s a fantastically simple and clean setup. Moving throughout the map is easy and seamless, supported by a really nice feature to zoom in and out as needed. Once you spot one of your objectives, click it and it will be highlighted as complete on the objective list.
While there isn’t any grand story with plot twists and turns to keep track of, the map still has plenty of life to it while you work. Bunnies hop, travelers ride camels through the desert to far-off oases, and birds peck the ground. When you click on something – even if it’s not one of your objectives – it will often react or make a noise. You can peek into houses to see what people are up to, and check inside some boxes or sarcophagi. The charming liveliness of each scene is lovely (my particular favourite is the scarab that longs to be as cool as one of the golden statues decorating the buildings). They’re super-small details that help make Hidden Through Time just a little more magical without being overwhelming.
Between the maps and a calm, lovely little looping soundtrack, the game is incredibly relaxing and enjoyable. It’s also one of those rare games that is excellent both for unwinding for long periods of time, and picking up and putting down quickly between zoom classes or whenever you have a few minutes available. The game saves automatically and so far I haven’t had it undo any progress, no matter how quickly I’ve closed it out. Sometimes I’ve left it open to listen to the music in the background and occasionally find an objective in between homework or writing tasks. In windowed mode it’s easy to tab in and out. It’s been a constant companion for me in the past week and a half.
Hidden Through Time’s most special feature, however, is a map editor that lets players create their own stages. You can choose your time period to select objects from that group (or mix and match if you’re so inclined). When setting objectives, you can add hints. Many of the many buttons are quick and easy to understand, and the map editor was simple enough to figure out with no instructions. It adds an extra touch of fun and creativity to an already wonderful game.
I will say that the story mode is a little short. I’m hoping someday we see an update or DLC with some more countries or time periods. But with the map editor and custom maps to play, you’ll find plenty of content here.
If you’re so inclined, you can grab Hidden Through Time at a great price of only $7.99. It’s a refreshingly calm bit of comfort that’s easy to get into no matter what type of player you are or what your attention span is.
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