Hidden Object Crosswords is a neat idea but suffers from lackluster production values.

Hidden Object Crosswords is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of crossword puzzles where each clue represents a hidden object that needs to be found before the word can be filled into the crossword grid. Taken separately, neither the hidden object portion nor the puzzles would be anything to write home about, but together they create something that’s a little more interesting than the sum of its parts.

There’s no story to speak of in Hidden Object Crosswords. Instead, there’s simply a map screen with stages for you to complete one by one. There are 18 stages in all, and each stage has three levels that can be completed in any order, for a total of 54 puzzles.

Hidden Object Crosswords

Each level contains two elements: a standard crossword puzzle with about 14 clues, and a hidden object scene. You can click on any of the blank spots in the crossword puzzle to see the corresponding clue, which might be something like “It has nine lives.” You then have to figure out what the word is (“cat” of course!) and then look for the cat in the hidden object scene.

If you don’t want to keep going back to the crossword puzzle to select new clues, you can also just click on arrows at the top of the screen to scroll through them all.

Clues range from facts and pop culture references (like filling in the blank to “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s _____”) to proverbs and riddles (“What gets wetter the more it dries?” — a towel!). While I appreciated the cleverness of some of the riddles, there are some that will probably leave you scratching your head. If you could figure out that “A bouquet with branches, but without leaves” is a broom, or that “This horse eats no oats, and has two wheels instead of legs” is referring to a bicycle, then you’re a better crossword puzzler than I!

Hidden Object Crosswords

In spite of these obscure clues, you will never find yourself stuck. Fireflies randomly appear on the screen that will reveal one of the letters in the solution. Or, you can just wait for the Hint meter to recharge and it will give the whole answer away. The hint system is a bit vague given that it illuminates a large square of the playfield – but it gives you the general direction to direct your eyes to, and even if you need to click around until you find the object, that’s ok because there’s no penalty for random clicking!

Hidden Object Crosswords won’t blow you away with its production values and generic hidden object scenes. Nor are the crossword puzzles – which average about 14 clues each – particularly challenging when compared to the ones found in newspapers. Still, the notion of combining hidden object scenes and crossword puzzles is one that, to our knowledge, hasn’t been tried before, so kudos for that. Here’s hoping that other developers will be able to take the idea and run with it even more.