Like oil and water, hidden object games and Facebook are not supposed to mix. Facebook games are meant to be social and hidden object games are traditionally a solitary affair.
I don’t have any screen shots to show you yet (it’s still under embargo). But, I am allowed to share with you my impressions. I can fairly say, as the owner of a games site that has reviewed about 1000 hidden object games in the past 5 years, I am thoroughly impressed.
The premise behind Gardens of Time is that you are a newly minted member of a historical society that goes back in time to collect historical heirlooms which you find in hidden object scenes.
Some items you collect can be redeemed for points which then can be spent to decorate your own virtual space in the game.
Other nice social touches are a leaderboard that you can compete to complete puzzles and a blitz-like mode where you can collaborate to solve puzzles. In Blitz mode, youou have one minute to find as many items as you can in a puzzle and then you invite you friend to find the rest of the items in a month. You and your friend earn points if you complete the puzzle together. Players can also purchase and share hints as gifts.
At launch, they will be 45 – 60 puzzles and Playdom plans to add at least 5 new puzzles per week. Perhaps the smartest feature is that you can click an icon to go “full screen” to open the hidden object puzzle, so you are not limited by Facebook’s size restrictions.
If it sounds like the development team behind Gardens of Time get hidden object games, it’s because they have built HOGs in the past at Arkadium and iWin. When I asked them about their inspiration, they told me it was to re-kindle the spirit of the original hidden object games that first came out years ago.
I’m not sure how a hidden object game will do on Facebook but if any game is going to meld the worlds of HOGs and Facebook together, it’ll be Gardens of Time.