If you’re getting a little burned out by the seemingly endless wave of hidden object games ("HOGs"), the third release in Anarchy Enterprises’ Hide & Secret series won’t do much to convince you otherwise. It’s not a bad game, no, but certainly below the quality you’ve grown to expect from today’s HOG offerings.
In Hide & Secret 3: Pharaoh’s Quest, you’re tasked to reunite two ancient royal lovers — the Pharaoh and Cleopatra, no less — but in order to do that you must find all the scattered amulets across the globe, which have been stolen from the king and queen’s tombs. While you’ll start in Egypt, you’ll eventually collect passports to visit locations in Italy, China, England, France, Mexico and Italy.
The core game-play will be familiar to fans of the genre: scour an indoor or outdoor location to find well-hidden objects in the scene. When you see one that matches the name of the object listed at the bottom of the screen, click it and it disappears from the environment and your list. Once all the items are found — with some of them dropping into your inventory to use in the future — you can click on an arrow to visit the next area. Regrettably, the majority of items have nothing to do with the story or scene, such as finding a toy fire truck in the Nile, a pterodactyl near the Eiffel tower or a hockey helmet near Incan ruins!
Some of the items are used too many times, too, such as a playing card, old-fashioned telephone, wristwatch and others — this makes it easier to spot the word on the list since you know what it looks like. Speaking of making the game easier for players, there is no timer, nor are you penalized for clicking incorrectly too many times. You can use up hints that reveal where an item is hidden, and add more hints by finding a pyramid amulet hidden on each level.
Hidden objects that matter can be used to solve some adventure-like puzzles, such as giving someone a rare artifact who needs it, fixing a vehicle or cutting a wire, and so forth. There are a few of these in Hide & Secret 3 but it doesn’t make up the bulk of the gameplay.
Another issue in this game is sometimes it can be difficult to know where to go next. Therefore, you’ll likely find yourself clicking around the screen until a yellow arrow appears or until you give someone the correct object from your inventory (unfortunately, if it’s incorrect, the person simply repeats what they want, which gets annoying).
Every few levels or so there will be basic mini-games to solve — or you can skip past them after waiting a few minutes — and they’re of the usual variety such as jigsaw or sliding tile puzzles, matching games, and so forth.
Visually speaking, the game lacks flare. The cartoon graphics are very outdated, and the characters look quite lame, especially when compared to other HOGs. As with past Hide & Secret games, the dialogue is also cheesy, but the soothing music — which combines instrumental tracks with some choral voices — is noticeably superior to the graphics.
The best way to tell if Hide & Secret 3: Pharaoh’s Quest is worth your time and money is to download and play the 60-minute trial. You’ll no doubt agree, though, this one-mode HOG, with little replayability, barely hovers above mediocrity in both the game-play and production quality departments.