Apparently Toadie dropped an unusual device as he and Jacques fled the scene with their rare and valuable booty. The device shows a list of items. Find the items and the device points the way towards Toadie and Jacque’s whereabouts. No, it doesn’t make any logical sense, but it does try to tie the act of the finding the hidden object to the continuation of the story line.
Hide and Secret definitely has its own graphics style. You’re not going to see the same richly rendered detail as you do with the classic Mystery Case Files games, but on the other hand, I did find the objects easier to see. I also didn’t have any issues with not being able to see objects on the edges of the screen. The clues for the hidden objects are pretty straightforward. You’re told, for example, if you’re looking for an architectural compass or a navigational compass. It’s a bit less challenging this way, but a lot more accessible to children. (I did have to point out the phonograph to my daughter. How many modern young people have seen a real live record player?)
I found the early levels of the game extremely easy to solve. The picture to match the clue was generally the same image, possibly sized differently but otherwise identical, from room to room. As I got to the later levels, it was more challenging. Some new items were introduced to the mix. The pictures for some of the clues did change. While I had the same amount of time to solve the puzzles, I started to get a lot more items to find between an increased number of locations. In any case, I did manage to play the game all the way through in just over two hours.
While there was a fair amount of repetition of items in my first trip through the game, I am seeing new items on my second round. It definitely adds to the replay-ability factor for the game. I also like being able to compete against my previous solve times.
The images are definitely family friendly. My daughter (not quite seven) and I have worked on a number of levels together. I’ve been letting her run the mouse – which she loves. She does pretty well at spotting the items on her own. When she gets stuck she’ll ask me, “Where is it?” (which is really great – she has autism and this gives us some wonderful spontaneous practice on intra-verbals) and I’ll point it out to her on the screen.
I guess my main complaint about Hide and Secret doesn’t really have anything to do with the game play. I think Will is a blithering idiot. He’s obsessed with food and apparently dumber than a box of rocks. Maybe I’m just cranky and on another day I’d find him charming. I don’t think so – but I suppose it’s possible. I wasn’t very excited about having Will or Anna pop into the screen with every object I found, just so the item could swirl into their backpacks. When you’re playing against the clock, it’s kind of annoying having part of the screen temporarily blocked while you’re still working.
Overall, I had a good time playing Hide and Secret. I enjoyed the item puzzles and like seeing the comic book story unfold between levels. There’s even promise of a sequel based on the final panel of the story. I’ll be keeping an eye out.