Title: Hidden Through Time
Developer: Crazy Monkey Studios
Publisher: Crazy Monkey Studios
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 12/03/2020
Price: £6.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
The first thing that sprung to mind when I read what Hidden Through Time was about, was Where’s Wally (or Waldo, for the Americans!). Trying to find that striped-shirt fellow among a huge crowd was a challenge, but incredibly satisfying once you spotted his face peering from behind a footy fan or a man in a clown suit. This is the exact feeling invoked by Hidden Through Time.
Keep your eyes peeled
The objective is simple: find the objects listed at the bottom of the screen, which each have a helpful yet often cryptic hint, discovering enough to carry you on to the next level. You could opt for using the joycons, moving your cursor and selecting objects as well as zooming with the bumpers, or the touchscreen. I played it handheld with the joycons mainly, though it was also perfect for snuggling up in bed to use the touchscreen when I was sleepy. With the easy controls, it’s accessible to anyone young or old.
You are taken through four eras of time: Prehistoric, Egyptian, Medieval, and Western. As they are themed levels, you would have particular objects to find in each time period, such as a dinosaur egg or a cowboy boot. This made it a lot more interesting, particularly as each level would grow in size, having you scan hundreds of characters and searching inside each building.
Speaking of this, an aspect which really upped the interactivity was being able to click on every single object that you could see. Each one would have a sound effect, like a horse neighing or a bush rustling, and you could look inside every building. There is so much detail for you to explore, including the tiniest objects, hidden among other tiny objects. This is where I think some people could struggle, depending on what your eyesight is like! It’s extremely easy to glance over some, and it may be that children with a keen eye have a better time finding things.
However, I think anyone with a knack for puzzles will enjoy the challenge. Perhaps it may be worth seeing what screen size (handheld or docked) is best for you, as I often overlooked things and would squint to see them, even though my eyesight is fine. I didn’t mind though, as it was so fun to explore every detail of the level, which would portray a particular event, like a Medieval banquet or a Western shootout.
Cowboys and Indians, Cavemen and Dinos…
What stood out for me and made the game a joy to play was the art style. Everything is hand drawn, in such a simple but sweet style, making it easy on the eye despite the masses of buildings or people. Having the eras meant you got to see so many designs, from wizards with staffs in grand castles, to mummies hidden in pyramids. It’s all so colourful too, so perfect for children!
There were also some nice pop culture references, such as having to find a Pokeball and Harry Potter’s glasses! They were really inventive to come up with each scenario, along with matching clues. For example, the Pokeball one had “Gotta catch ’em all!” as its hint, so I knew that I needed to look for someone who was close to animals. As mentioned, they could be quite cryptic, but it added another layer of puzzle elements.
One thing I would have liked to see was a soundtrack to match each time period. The same song played on a loop throughout every level, and though it was relaxing, it became quite annoying.
Stretch your creativity
There aren’t a huge amount of levels, though you will get a good 3 or so hours out of them. But the added custom levels is an excellent feature; you can design your own levels, then upload them for other players to try. You can choose objects from one of the time periods, but you’re free to mix any of them. There are so many different objects, buildings and people to use, so there’s hundreds of possibilities!
People are super creative, as you are able to adjust the hints for the hidden objects too. At the time of playing, not long after it came out, there didn’t seem to be an awful lot of people creating levels. Hopefully, with time this will grow! I actually spent a couple of hours myself making my own Medieval level, including a battle between knights and goblins. My only gripe would be that it is a little fiddly to place the smaller objects, and it took me a while to get the hang of all the buttons to rotate, adjust layers and switch between objects, etc. A little more complicated than the gameplay, so some people may prefer to stick to playing rather than creating.
Hidden Through Time is a, excuse the pun, hidden gem of a game. It’s fun yet challenging, simple yet so detailed. No matter your age, you’re sure to have a great and relaxing time playing. It would be cool to see some more eras added in a future update, as there is so much potential. Nevertheless, the game is good as it is, and well worth picking up!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Hidden Through Time for the Nintendo Switch at the following link: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Hidden-Through-Time-1736489.html#gameDetails
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.