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Hidden Through Time 2: Myths and Magic Review: Gotta Find 'em All!

Platform reviewed: Nintendo Switch

Also on: Steam, XBOX, PlayStation

Price: $12.99

I'm not sure if this is the same for everyone else out there, but for me, at least, trips to the dentist were always synonymous with the children's magazine Highlights. While waiting what seemed like hours for my turn to be tormented, the only solace I took was in reading that magazine, at the same time trying to ignore the screams of my fellow victims. My favorite part of the Highlights magazine was always the “Hidden Pictures” page – a “find the objects” game. It was always a challenge, and I found it very enjoyable as I sat in that waiting room.

Years later, I would have the same experience with the Where's Waldo series of books. I just always enjoyed the puzzling challenge of trying to find Waldo and those other items among the busy pages. I also remember renting the NES Where's Waldo game – and promptly trying to return it because it was just awful. But I still enjoyed actively searching for those hidden objects.

Which brings us to today's review – Hidden Through Time 2: Myths & Magic.

When I first saw the game on sale on the Switch a few years ago, I hoped it would rekindle that flame in my heart when it came to these hidden objects puzzles. And I still find myself occasionally firing it up to spend an hour or so looking for random items. And now that Hidden Through Time 2 is out, I jumped on it immediately – and I am happy with the results.

Hidden Through Time 2: Myths & Magic is pretty much what I just described: it's a video game version of a “find the object” puzzle. You are given a large setting with many different characters going about their day. Your goal is to locate specific items shown at the bottom of the screen by scouring the area and clicking on them when found.

Some items are easily found, but others are partially obstructed by another object or hidden in a chest or closet that you need to open. To help you out, each item has a clue associated with it that gives you an idea where it's located. The effectiveness of these clues vary: some are pretty obvious, but others can be confusing or not useful at all. It doesn't feel unfair, though; these puzzles were designed to be a challenge, and they don't fail to test my brain – and patience.

Hidden Through Time 2 actually has a few updates that sets it apart from the original game. The biggest change is that all puzzles now have a changeable “cycle.” This could be from day to night, sunny to rainy, or calm to a blinding sandstorm. Some items are only visible during that specific cycle, so with a push of the button you can switch things up and continue your search. Each puzzle in the campaign is also voice-narrated and has a back story. This adds a bit of flavor to each level, and contributes to the overall charm. Finally, the online mode from the first game makes a welcome return. You can build out your own levels, place characters and items, provide clues, and upload them for others to download and play. This adds a great deal of puzzles to enjoy once you've completed the campaign.

The game has an adorable aesthetic. Colors are warm and inviting, and the characters and creatures have an undeniably cute look to them. I'd compare it to the Scribblenauts series, if anything. They're not stationary, either. Characters dance, fight, and move along a specified path, which gives life to each scene. Everything also reacts to being tapped – cats meow, people yelp, etc – and it all adds an extra layer of personality.

Controls work just fine with little concern. You can zoom in, move around the scene and pinpoint your selections with relative ease. However, when you try to move around the scene while completely zoomed out, the game gets a little clunky. When closer, it's a bit smoother. Nothing game-breaking, but it is a slight annoyance. However, playing in handheld mode is amazing. This is one of the few games that I actually prefer playing in handheld mode. Hidden Through Time 2 fully supports the Switch's touch screen, and it's very intuitive. Tapping the item once you find it works every time, and you can use two fingers to zoom in and out. It works perfectly.

One of the biggest drawbacks in this game is the loading times. On the Switch at least, the levels can take up to a minute to load, and there's a 15-20 second delay when you switch from one condition to the next. I assume this is due to the Switch limitations, and it can get annoying to wait this long. I also wish that there was a multiplayer mode, whether online or local. While my wife helped out by looking and pointing things out, it would be more enjoyable if she could grab a controller and have her own pointer. Finally, this game does present a real challenge, and that may be a turn-off to some younger players. Frustration is inevitable while playing the game, and if there was a hint system implemented to help zero in on an area where an object is located, that would have really helped.

Final Grade: B+

Hidden Through Time 2 does exactly what it sets out to do. If you've played the first game, you'll know exactly what to expect here. The game is a fun time-waster, is a chill experience, and will show you how astute you are. The added features are welcome, and the game is just charming. The ability to download user-made puzzles add a ton of replay value as well, and it's reasonably priced at only $12.99. I highly recommend this one, as it's a real hidden gem – pun intended. In fact, next time I go to the dentist, I'm bringing my Switch.

Review code for Hidden Through Time 2: Myths and Magic was provided by Pirate PR.



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