I’m going to say something that writers aren’t supposed to say: Stop reading this review right now and go play Pure Hidden. Nothing in this review can adequately explain how incredibly beautiful, serene, or inventive this game is, so please, just stop reading and go try it for yourself. Shoo. Go on, shoo.
Still with me? Ok, then let me try and explain why I’m so giddy over Pure Hidden. From the moment you begin playing, Pure Hidden is a completely different take on the hidden object genre. You’re not cleaning out attics, solving mysteries, or breaking ancient curses, you’re helping an ivy-like plant grow flowers and fruit by completing the various levels of the game. Upon finishing a level, you’ll be presented with an item – a toy car, a rubber duck, a lemon – that you’ll use to open the next box and reveal your next adventure.
Despite its name, Pure Hidden isn’t a "pure" hidden object game; it’s actually a mixture of hidden object levels, mini-games, and activities. The hidden object levels are so exquisitely crafted, they would be perfectly at home in an art gallery. Black and white cityscapes, assemblies of intricately detailed Ukranian eggs, pop art collages that explode with color: No two levels are alike. Don’t let their beauty fool you, though – they are devious and cunning in their design. At first glance, you won’t even realize that there’s anything at all hidden within them, let alone the more than 30 items that grace each stage. Hidden object veterans, if you’ve been longing for a challenge, this game is it.
As with other hidden object games, you can choose to play in score or zen mode. You have an unlimited number of hints, but using one reduces your score, as do wrong guesses. Quickly locating items racks up points, but you can take as much time as you need. If you’re having trouble, you can also just wrap up a level once you locate the item listed in purple – it’s the key that unlocks the next area of the game.
The other levels of the game are equally varied and charmingly bizarre. Some are games; you might have to redirect pipes to let a river flow, or get a certain number of sheep to jump a fence. Others are just for fun, like the stage that lets you play music by popping bubbles, or another that gives you stencils and paint to create a mini masterpiece. You can skip them entirely if you like (but don’t, they’re wonderful), or revisit them should you want to experience them again.
Pure Hidden doesn’t really do much that other hidden object games have done before, but it does it in such a aesthetically pleasing and sophisticated way that it just feels different. There is no story to be had, no characters to embrace, just the sheer visual spectacle of the challenges being put before you, and that is what Pure Hidden celebrates. Every image is a thing of beauty, carefully chosen and constructed not only to please your eye, but also to challenge your skills.
Pure Hidden suffers from a few typos here and there, but my only real disappointment with the game is its length. The non-hidden object levels, enjoyable as they are, are over in just a minute or two, which drastically cuts the game’s overall length. The object levels are incredibly challenging, but they are outnumbered by the mini-games and activities. You can replay them as often as you like, but I would’ve preferred to just have more.
Pure Hidden is a gem of a game, a seamless blending of artistic appeal and enjoyable gameplay. It may draw from the same sources as other "HOG"s, but there’s nothing else quite like it.