Hidden object games are pretty commonplace these days, but oftentimes you're looking at scenes for clues and the like. An isometric perspective is less common, and the fact that the gently moving and slightly interactive images in Hidden Through Time are full of little people doing everyday things mean that it's kind of like an interactive Where's Wally? (or Waldo, if that's what you call him), and that's just as fun as it sounds.
Hidden Through Time adds a splash of colour to a tried and tested formula. In this Hidden Folks-inspired game from Crazy Monkey Studios, we're taken back in time to the prehistoric era, with cavemen and dinosaurs living in perfect harmony. As you progress through history you visit a handful of different eras, including Ancient Egypt and the Wild West (with one or two fantastical medieval elements thrown in for good measure).
We're tasked with carefully looking through crowded scenes in search of little details, and thanks to the lovely minimalist art and gentle soundtrack, it's a thoroughly relaxing experience. What's more, the charming presentation and light-hearted aesthetic will appeal to gamers of all ages and backgrounds.
As you move through the levels they get progressively bigger and more complicated, and you also get more things to find. In some respects, it's a memory game as you have to remember as many of the items as you can so you can focus more intently on the level itself. The objects that you need to find are shown at the bottom of the screen (complete with hints if you need them) so it's no drama to flick your eyes from image to list and back again, but it's much more efficient to stay focused on the map and have the things you want to find fixed in your mind's eye.
It's easy to navigate the world; we played Hidden Through Time with both a mouse and a controller and rather unsurprisingly using an analog stick is the more cumbersome way to play. Still, consoles are more often plugged into bigger screens and while it's completely fine to play it on a crisp little PC monitor, it looks absolutely fantastic on a large 4K panel too. There's so much going on in each stage that it's easy to get lost in the details, and the limited but constant movement of the teeny tiny characters helps to make it feel even more alive.
One major feature that we liked is the level editor. It can be a little fiddly given the size of some of the assets and overall it could have been more intuitive, but generally speaking, it's a straightforward enough process and we can see this feature adding plenty of longevity for people who like to create challenges for others. There's already a nice little collection of player-made levels to try out once you've worked through the 20-odd levels found in the story mode.
Hidden Through Time is a lovely game and if you liked Hidden Folks we're pretty sure you're going to enjoy this one too. The level editor offers extended replayability with new creative options and community content to play through, and all told it's a solid package that holds universal appeal thanks to the simplicity of the underlying concept and the charm with which it has been brought to life.
Update: In the original version of this review we wrote that the game was a sequel to Hidden Folks, but the two games are not directly linked and the text now reflects that. Apologies for the confusion, folks.
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