Hidden Time: Mirror Mirror begins with a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that your antique mirror seems to indicate that you’re a descendant of the former residents of Castle Fairwich. The bad news is that Castle Fairwich is slated to be sold in nine days, so if you want to solve the mystery of your ancestry and the Castle’s legendary magic mirror, you’d better hustle.
When you arrive at the Castle, which is what estate agents kindly refer to as a "fixer upper," you learn the tale of the magical mirror that was shattered when the Duke refused to accept that his daughter would be happy marrying the maid’s son. Perhaps by reassembling the nine pieces of the mirror, you can discover the truth of your own past, as well as the fate of young Marion and Jack. But first you’re going to have to sift through a lot of junk.
Mirror Mirror has nine levels, with three locations each, but you’ll have to visit each location twice. The first time through, you’ll simply be finding items on a list in classic hidden object style. On your second pass, you’ll be finding items and uncovering one of three secret objects: a portrait of one of the Fairwich clan, a locked box, or a key. The portraits contain messages that tell Mirror Mirror‘s rather entertaining tale; the key unlocks the box, which contains one of the nine mirror shards.
In between each level is one of three mini-games: reflecting mirrors, spot-the-difference, and repairing jumbled images. None of them are particularly memorable or engaging. For the reflecting mirrors, you’ll have to adjust mirrors to guide a beam of light to reveal a hidden message. The images in the spot-the-difference games are mirrored to make things a bit trickier, but the differences are so glaringly obvious that you’ll still be finished in a snap. The garbled messages are slightly more difficult, but still feel like busy work. Fortunately, you can simply opt to skip the mini-games without invoking any penalty.
The hidden object levels are well designed, varied, and have a unexpected cheeky sense of humor. Click on a rubber duck, and if it isn’t one of your list items, it’ll quack. The search for a "belle bell" will lead you to a bell shaped like a young southern girl, complete with petticoats. Even when it’s playing it straight, the game does a good job of making your searches more interesting by asking you to find very unusual items. Sure, it asks you to track down plenty of scissors, sailboats, and screws, but I can’t think of another hidden object game that asked me to find a rotten pear or a fish bottle.
The story of Mirror Mirror will keep you playing, but not for very long. Despite the fact that you have to revisit scenes twice, it won’t take you very long to complete the game. Finishing unlocks Mirrored Mode, which is basically identical to the original game with the scenes flipped around. As extras go, it’s not that exciting, but it does extend the gameplay somewhat.
If you’re a fan of the hidden object genre, you’ll appreciate Mirror Mirror‘s smart sense of humor and well-chosen lists of items. The mini-games are so-so, but the story of star-crossed lovers and mysterious mirrors is fun enough to keep you guessing up to the very end.