“It’s not hard to find many things to like about this game”
Where’s Waldo is a game as old as I am and it needs no explaining: look for hard-to-find hidden objects or people in a busy scene and feel a rush of dopamine when you suddenly do. It works for toddlers, but the effect sure hasn’t gotten any less exciting for an adult.
After the success of the first Hidden Through Time, the Belgian studio Rogueside started working on a new version, this time focussing efforts on more storytelling, magical places from both mythology, famous tales and modern movies and also throwing in a scene-changing toggle to really mix things up. We’ll be reviewing the PC version today, but an Xbox version should also be in the works.
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by Developer, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on X!
Can you find the deer?
Things I liked!
- Base Gameplay | Looking for hidden items is a fun and under-used activity. It’s something I’ll never grow tired of and I had a lot of fun combing through the scenes for clues and discovering the well-hidden objects.
- Environmental storytelling | At the start of each level, we now get a narrated introduction telling us about the situation and it helps to tell a story. But what I like even more is how most of the scenes just make sense and even outside of the items you’re looking for, there are some clever references to pop culture or ancient myths and also some visual inside jokes if you get the thing they’re referencing. Clearly a lot of thought went into each of the main levels.
- Switch it up | Each level also has a toggle now to switch between Day & Night, or Sunny & Rainy or Winter & Summer. Some items can only be found in one of those states, but the other version will also give hints as to where to find them through its subtle storytelling. Eg: if you’re looking for a pink puddle in summer, perhaps it’ll be in the location where someone was eating a pink icecream in winter.
- Endless possibilities | The main campaign has 4 different settings with levels the developers designed, but the fun doesn’t end there. You can make your own levels or play the ones made by other players online. Thanks to a voting system, the best ones float to the top and the devs also share specific level codes on their social media and within their discord. In theory, you could be playing fan-created content forever and there are some really creative levels to be found.
- Lovely visual style | Hidden Through Time 2 has a great 2D art style that comes to life through fun little looped animations. It’s a treat for the eyes and you can tell a lot of time and attention to detail was invested in making it look just right.
Can you find the mouse?
Neither good nor bad
- Hints | Per item that you have to find, you’ll get one written hind that is up to your interpretation. Often this will help you pinpoint the approximate area of an object, but there are also many descriptions that don’t really mean anything and I would have appreciated a “help me” option to spot those. Especially because some of the progression is locked behind it
- Multi-story buildings | You can click on most buildings to look inside, but if they have multiple floors, it can become a drag to navigate and look at each one. If you leave it in an open state, you may miss the bird you’re looking for on the roof, or if you clicked the ground floor, you may miss the fact that it has a first floor full of hidden secrets as well.
- Progression locks | I understand that you need to feel some sort of accomplishment to deserve to play the final missions, but when a single item was eluding me, it felt bad seeing a level being locked behind completing the previous ones. What’s more, is that it seemed like I only needed to find one more item to unlock the last level of a chapter, but even after finding two more, I still couldn’t proceed.
- Sound | Each level has a voiced introduction and the music fits the environment too. Nothing too memorable, but the loops never get annoying either. I do like how almost every object you click has some kind of interaction and sound effect too.
Can you find the crab?
Things I disliked!
- Registering clicks | Some items are hidden inside a trunk or a chest, or you have to click on a house to look inside, and it can sometimes be challenging to click on the item you’re looking for. Often I had to zoom in as far as I could to get a small item to register as found after clicking on it several times.
- Some bugs & lack of polish | The version I played on Steam (and in Dutch) still had some minor bugs. For instance objects not appearing where they should after you open a container. Luckily this didn’t happen for the items I had to find, but seeing a steak spawn in the middle of the street after opening a fridge is still weird. I’d also have moments where the introduction text was cut off and the last line couldn’t be read because it appeared too low on the screen. And for a 2D game, I had a few moments where performance took a dip when switching between scenes and using the menu.
How long did I play the review before publishing? 5 hours
How long to beat the story? 6-7 hours
How many Achievements did I earn before publishing? 8/19
How long to complete 100% | 7-8 hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Hidden Through Time, Castle Full of Cats
77/100 ⭐ | Hidden Through Time 2: Myths & Magic is a wonderful sequel to Rogueside’s previous hidden object game and adds just enough new elements to change things up. The settings are lovely, the levels full of clever little references and the hunt for objects is challenging enough to keep you busy for hours.
Add a custom map-builder into the mix and a community that creates new puzzles daily and you have a game that potentially lives on forever.
Robby lives and breathes video games. When he’s not playing them, he’s talking about them on social media or convincing other people to pick up a controller themselves. He’s online so often, he could practically list the internet as his legal domicile. Belgian games-industry know-it-all.