Now that we are in fall (unless you’re in Texas like me) it’s time to pull out the cozy blankets, mugs of hot chocolate, and slippers. But what is comfort if not pure relaxation? So that’s typically when you dig into the cupboard and find a great board game, Lego set, or a 200+ piece puzzle. For me, it’s the best time to find those games that make you want to sit on the floor in front of the television again to see it better. Hidden Through Time 2: Myths and Magic is now on rotation for this sweater weather season.
[Note: While I am reviewing this game independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Rogueside through Terminals.IO for the purpose of this review. Warning: spoilers and impressions of Hidden Through Time 2: Myths and Magic are below!]
General gameplay in Hidden Through Time 2: Myths and Magic
Do you recall I SPY or Where’s Waldo? Games where the focus is to focus your attention amongst a sea of patterns and find 3 buttons, a blue racecar, an avocado, or a tall skinny man with a red and white striped beanie and large glasses. I SPY had the quirk of it being a photograph with all the elements arranged. Where’s Waldo has a wall of red and white to make it harder to find him.
HTT2 employs its own features which I really enjoyed, one was a text and visual hint, the “Reality Shift” feature, and the “secret objects”. For the hints, there was a list at the bottom showing a small icon representing that item. If you hover over it, it gives a hint about the location of the item such as, “Zeus is angry that a dog has stolen his crown.” With just a little clever thinking, I scoured the map and found the crown in a spot I would not have thought of initially.
“Secret objects” are non-descript items, with no icon. Nothing. You just have to get lucky to select something that would fit in with the theme of the levels. I was doing Greek Mythology, and so finding a Trident was one secret object in a level and other famous items that belonged to other myths (being vague here to not spoil finding them for yourself!).
“Reality Shift” is a neat feature where there’s a clickable switch that will change between two different settings. The first one was day/night and the second one was summer/winter with changes throughout the map and a second set of hints to find. Some items were available to be found in either reality, and more than half are stamped with the single reality they can be found in.
It’s really refreshing to get stuck for a bit, swap realities and reset your eyes if you’ve been staring at the same corner for too long. After going back and forth, I did ultimately find the canary and the coin that were both eluding me in the sunlight!
Best parts of this relaxing search game from Rogueside
I think what I enjoyed the most was the laid-back nature of the game. No clocks, lives, mistakes to concern myself about. It was just finding things at my pace and comfort. The niche of cozy games needs to increase and this is an absolute gem, which is kind of hilarious finding a game about finding things.
I still can’t get over the art styles, everything is so petite and cute in an endearing manner. I had many giggles when I would select seemingly random items and they would spark smaller reactions like Harpies singing a song, or having a fish splash in a pond. Some characters/animals even have short tracks where they do trivial things like walking a short path in repetition.
The maps themselves offer enough variety between shifting realities and the make-up of the landscapes. The hints are very well hidden, one of them took me nearly half an hour to comb through every pixel to find! I can easily see myself playing this game on my projector and converting it into a family game night with laser pointers.
Creativity and fun to be had with maps and other users
Beyond playing the game casually, there is now a section for online playing. What this equates to is the ability to try out maps created by users and to create maps for others to try out. Since the game hasn’t been fully released there were maybe seven maps I could have tried out.
I haven’t ventured into the “Architect” yet, which is the name of the map builder. Again, didn’t try it out as I’m not too creative and wanted to focus on trying out the gameplay first. But the insane amount of options should spur some fantastically creative content from the public. As we’ve seen with Minecraft over the last decade-plus, there are some really creative folks out there who can rival developers with their own user-generated content. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the general population will come up with after some time to enjoy all the customization the game offers.
Also, I’m a big fan of the avenue they decided to theme the levels. Aside from Greek Mythology, there were also Arabian Nights, Medieval Fantasy, and an 80’s Fantasy. All of them have a bit of a storyline presented via narration before starting their levels! The sound and music were on point with the ambiance of the game, but after 20 minutes you will likely find yourself either muting or lowering the volume as it does get repetitive unless you breeze through the levels quickly. Currently, there is a demo on Steam if you want to try it out for yourself.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with such a simple premise. A couple of levels even had me approaching frustration since I couldn’t find some well-hidden hints! The vibrant colors are so wonderful to look at along with all the little designs. The simplicity of the gameplay is also welcome, after a 1 minute tutorial I understood everything that I needed to. This let me jump right into a session and game away with time passing me by. The first game was on other platforms, and this one is great for something such as the Nintendo Switch because of the Switch’s portability.
Hidden Through Time 2: Myths and Magic is coming soon to all the major gaming platforms, with a release date of October 5th, 2023! Will you be playing when it releases? Let us know on social media @mycosmicircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord!