ESRB: Not Rated
A few years ago, I reviewed Hidden Through Time, a somewhat cute, mostly forgettable hidden object game. It didn’t do anything particularly noteworthy or memorable – and yet, for some reason, its developers decided the world needed a sequel, so now we have Hidden Through Time 2: Myths & Magic.
Spoiler: it’s pretty much the exact same game.
Normally this wouldn’t be that much of an issue, since, I mean, we’re talking about a Where’s Waldo-style hidden object game. You wouldn’t think there’s much room for these kinds of games to change from one to the next. Slap together a scene, hide a few objects, and voila – that was the formula for the first Hidden Through Time, and that’s the formula for Hidden Through Time 2. Why change what works?
The problem is that, in the years between the games – or, more precisely, earlier this year – we got a hidden object game that showed it was possible for the genre to be a little more: Crime O’Clock. In that game, they created whole stories out of scenes, and then allowed you to move forwards and backwards to see how the scene evolved as you searched for clues to solve mysteries. It was the first hidden object game I’ve seen do that, and it was a welcome change from the usual – which in this case, is represented through games like Hidden Through Time 2.
To be fair, and to Hidden Through Time 2’s credit, it takes a few tentative steps in that direction as well, adding in what they’re calling the “Reality Shift” feature. Reality Shift changes the scene on the screen from day to night, or summer to winter, and hides certain objects in ways that are only possible if you use the Reality Shift. It doesn’t use the fuller possibilities that Crime O’Clock shows are possible, but at least Hidden Through Time 2 tries to do that one thing differently.
And good thing too, because other than that, there’s no real change. You still have a cutesy, hard-drawn style that recalls the likes of Scribblenauts. You still have scenes that are a little too overcrowded and filled with too many tiny objects, forcing you to zoom into every scene so that you spend forever searching for one or two dumb little details. And you still have no real way to ask for help, save for clues that are so obscure that they’re essentially useful.
Of course, if you’re a diehard hidden object gamer (do those exist?), that may sound appealing. If it weren’t for Crime O’Clock, that might even have described me. But seeing as that other, better, more interesting game is also available, the only reason to get Hidden Through Time 2 is if you’ve already exhausted that and you’re after something that isn’t as fun.
Rogueside provided us with a Hidden Through Time 2: Myths & Magic PC code for review purposes.