Family Vacation: California review for Nintendo Switch, PC

Platform: Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Ocean Media
Developer: Ocean Media
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I?m not going to pretend that Family Vacation: California is some secret hidden gem. It?s a hidden object game — and not even a relatively complex one, like the sort Artifex Mundi churn out, where they add in lengthy stories and cutscenes with so-so animation. What you see here is what you get: a bunch of static screens, loosely tied together by a story about a family going on vacation, with the odd very basic puzzle thrown in to spice things up.

And, yet, I loved it.

Maybe it?s because — as I once learned to my surprise — I have shockingly strong feelings about what counts and what doesn?t as a hidden object game. Unlike a lot of its competitors that try to dress themselves up, Family Vacation: California makes no effort to hide what it is.

Or, maybe, it?s because a simple little game like this is all I?m looking for sometimes. It?s not going to make you think very hard, whether you?re searching for randomly placed CDs and hats, or doing the most basic puzzles imaginable — but at the same time, it can be fun every so often to turn your brain off and not have to think at all about the game you?re playing.

True, at about $10, Family Vacation: California is probably a little overpriced — especially when you can buy the game on PC for less than $3 as of this writing. And, obviously, if you want anything more than just a hidden object game, Family Vacation: California won?t give you that. But, again, if you want to turn your brain off and hunt for donuts and triangle rulers and all kinds of other weirdly placed junk, here?s your chance.

Ocean Media provided us with a Family Vacation: California Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-