Ever since she was a little girl, Lana Vasari was attracted to artwork and after a rather unfortunate magic marker incident on a canvas painting she was quickly introduced to the fine art of restoration! Now, as an adult, Lana graduates from school as a restoration expert and opens her own freelance practice. This is where you come in.
In Hidden World of Art, you help Lana raise money and make a name for herself as she accepts work from wealthy customers looking to restore valuable paintings back to their original glory. You will do this in many ways, but most involve "hidden object" tasks popular in the casual gaming scene today.
The game begins with the straightforward objective of finding well-hidden objects in a scene (in this game, it’s always on classic paintings). Words along the left-hand side of the screen might say "boomerang," "saucer," "teapot" and "spoon." Once you find it with your eyes you click it with your mouse and it becomes removed from the list (and you’ll received a dollar value tallied at the top of the screen). There is no time limit in which to complete these puzzles; if you need help you can click the magnifying glass once for free, which reveals where a well-hidden item is, but then must pay $250 for each successive hint.
As a nice bonus gameplay element, players are also asked to find three extra items in the scene, and in order to get the cash reward you must click them in the correct order.
After you complete the goal the painting is then hung in a virtual gallery, which you can visit at anytime from the main menu. Unfortunately it only lists the name of the painting and artist. A little more information or facts would’ve been a great idea.
Hidden World of Art then challenges players to find other objects in different ways, such as matching the item to its corresponding silhouette shape, by pairing two identical items together (such as two cats, two hourglasses or two books), spotting the differences between two near identical paintings or by finding a larger number of one kind of object on a painting, such as 32 butterflies. There isn’t anything here we haven’t seen before in other hidden object puzzlers but is executed nicely in this game.
Between levels you can spend your earned money to dress up your shoddy apartment, such as dropping $3,000 for nice wallpaper, $6,000 for a couch and $5,700 on a throw rug. (Steep prices, no?).
There are a few minor issues, with the most obvious being some confusing objects. In one scenario you’re asked to find a "plate" but there are four of them visible on the screen. How do you know which one to click? At least you’re not penalized for clicking incorrectly from what we could gather. In another instance, during one of those "spot the differences" challenges, the one remaining item I couldn’t find was a small grey line in a dress (presumably a light crease) but it was very difficult to see and a hint had to be used up in order to advance through the game.
Another minor beef is from the main menu. I love the fact you can draw a picture on the canvas — and it’s saved when you return to the game, say, a day later — but my daughter was upset she couldn’t print out her creation. Good point, and pretty easy to add by a game developer I’d think.
Shortcomings aside, Hidden World of Art is a good-looking, great-sounding (loved the music) and fairly beefy game with more than 50 puzzles to solve and should please fans of hidden object games.