4 Ways Hidden Object Games Evolved and Continue to ImpressJun 15, 2022 | 1 Votes
Like all other things in the gaming industry, hidden object games have evolved and taken new forms. Although they are essentially similar to their peers of yore, they have become more comprehensive experiences that are far from their old initial state.
It is impressive how developers have retained the genre’s straightforward gameplay while infusing new ideas. How have they managed to move forward and stay relevant even when the industry today is full of open-world titles and complex RPGs? Let’s look at how they’ve managed to get it done.
Stories and hidden objects
If the gameplay lures players in, the story/overall plot fascinates and keeps them playing.
The stories and settings of hidden object games today rival triple-A experiences.
Most of their themes revolve around solving mysteries, with the entire plot emanating a dark aura of some sort. For example, some HoGs use murder mysteries as a backdrop or even missing person’s cases. These stories are fantastic for older casual players, leaving them intrigued and wanting to see the story through.
Meanwhile, younger audiences, especially toddlers and young children, may prefer adventure-oriented HoGs. These may include age-appropriate tales like adventure safaris, jungle exploration, and lighthearted farm stories. In turn, this makes them a fantastic option for parents who don’t want their children to play certain games with heavy and darker tones.
Publishers like Big Fish are popular for creating HoGs with pretty varied stories ranging from with dark mansions as a backdrop, to those with farms.
Infused with other puzzle mechanics
Another way hidden object games managed to evolve is by infusing the fun with other puzzle mechanics.
By doing so, developers diversified overall gameplay by handing out new things for players to experience now and then. For example, there might be a hidden object sequence first where players must gather items and place them in their inventory. The next step would involve puzzles which will involve the collected items. Some may take the form of jigsaw puzzle-like gameplay mechanics or simple yet tricky item-matching instances. For example, these could take the form of pattern puzzles and sequences.
You could say that some hidden object games could no longer be considered because HoG elements are no longer the main meat. Instead, they’re part of the serving and are infused with other gameplay mechanics, including the puzzle elements mentioned earlier. In a way, this turned them into multifaceted mystery adventures. For example, some games turn the experience into a “choose your own adventure” type, much like a visual novel. Moreover, some even let you deduce puzzles and certain mysteries, like in the case of crime-themed titles.
Diversifying gameplay helps. After all, no one wants to play a monotonous and unexciting game. By doing this, many hidden object games today continue to be relevant, each delivering a unique experience. In turn, this makes the field more competitive, making developers devise unique ways how to set themselves apart from their competitors.
Back in the day, games were mostly played on PCs and consoles. In particular, HoGs were a fixture on almost everybody’s computer, especially non-hardcore gamers who just wanted to kill time or unwind after a tough day at work. Unfortunately, not everyone had PCs back in the 90s and in the early 2000s.
Accessibility was a significant hurdle for game developers before. After all, not a lot of people are willing to shell out hundreds, if not thousands, of cash for PCs and consoles. Thankfully, this all changed when smartphones, a device almost everyone owns, made their way to the palm of our hands.
Today, you don’t need a PC to play HoGs since you can find most of them on mobile devices. You can find many of them in the app stores - Google Play and Apple App Store - and they mainly appeal to casual players. However, there are better alternatives, specifically H5 games like in Games4Grandma. Why? Well, you can play them in a mobile browser without the need to download anything. For example, you can play Phantom Halloween along with other games on the list, easily by visiting their respective web pages.
The industry owes a lot to hidden objects
Overall, we can safely say hidden object games have grown significantly over the years. Before, they were rather simplified tap-and-click games, but today, they’ve turned into full-fledged adventures. The game industry owes them a lot, mainly because they have also acted as a gateway for many players to dive into the wonderful world of gaming.
In your case, what do you think? Are there other ways hidden object titles evolved in the last few decades?