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Hidden Through Time review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Publisher: Crazy Monkey Studios
Developer: Crazy Monkey Studios
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

Hidden Through Time will seem awfully familiar if you’ve ever played Where’s Waldo. I mean, any kind of hidden object game probably works as a comparison, but Where’s Waldo really feels like the most appropriate comparison, on account of the fact that you’re searching through larger and larger scenes for smaller and smaller objects.

Of course, what made Where’s Waldo work was that it was a book, and you could see the entire page at one time as you sought out the titular character. It works less well on the Switch, where your options — at least when the scenes get really large — are to either zoom all the way out and be unable to see the tiny objects the game wants you to find (and, generally, you still won’t be able to see the whole screen), or you can zoom all the way in to a small part of the screen and have the clues that are intended to help you find the objects come off as mostly useless.

Mind you, they’re mostly useless anyway, because that’s how Hidden Through Time rolls. Most of the time, the clues you get are vague and nonsensical enough that you’ll just be searching everywhere anyway. This isn’t too bad we’re talking about small scenes and it’s not a massive pain to search every square inch of the picture, but when you get to the bigger ones, it quickly loses a lot of whatever appeal it might have.

That said, Hidden Through Time does have one or two things working in its favour. First, it’s incredibly easy to play, particularly on the Switch. It may not be fun to look for the puzzles, but, when you play in handheld mode and you can use the touchscreen, it’s hard to imagine the game being any more intuitive. There’s some disconnect between the fact this is the most family-friendly game imaginable yet it features some near-impossible object searches, but at the very least you can say the game doesn’t actively try to get in its own way.

Secondly, Hidden Through Time is pretty cute. It’s got an art style that comes off as a cross between Scribblenauts and The Oatmeal, and as someone who likes both of those things, that appeals to me. Every time I finished a level, some part of me half-expected to hear that little Scribblenauts tune that played whenever you found a shard, which should give you an idea of just how close the resemblance is.

But intuitive controls and fun design don’t make for a great game — that would require the game itself to be fun, and honestly, Hidden Through Time just didn’t do it for me. If you’re a diehard hidden object fan who really wants a challenge, it might be worth your time, but if you’re looking for something you can play with your kids, I have a hard time imagining it would pass muster.

Crazy Monkey Studios provided us with a Hidden Through Time Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B