Playdom’s next hidden object game is for the birds (and every other creature in the animal kingdom)

Hidden object games have taken Facebook by storm over the last year, and they were all the rage with casual PC crowd for the last decade or so before that. But you know what hidden object game is truly timeless? The one that takes place in the wild between predator and prey. Animals have a natural camouflage to protect themselves – and I’m not just talking chameleons – so what better subject could there be for a hidden object hunt?

After the success of Gardens of Time and the recently released Blackwood & Bell Mysteries, Disney and Playdom are gearing up for their third hidden object game on Facebook. Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers will task players with creating and nurturing their own wildlife preserve while visiting a wide variety of natural landscapes to search for animals in their natural habitat.

Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers

Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers

With some of the hidden object scenes inspired by locations from the actual Disney Animal Kingdom theme park in Florida, this marks the first time the Playdom team has worked with an official Disney-branded IP, and they’re quite excited to be doing so. We recently had a chance to speak with Eric Todd, Vice President of Product and Creative Director on the game, as well as the game’s Lead Producer Patrick Hsiesh, and their enthusiasm was palpable.

Building on their experiences with Gardens of Time and Blackwood & Bell, the pair was quick to acknowledge that gamers have been clamoring for more of an educational element from their games, and with Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers they’re exploring that concept full bore. The game will jam-packed full of tidbits and trivia about the creatures it contains, and will even feature a little something they’re calling “ecologically minded gameplay.” This means that animals will want conditions that simulate their experiences in the wild. If you’re setting up a spot for hyenas, for example, it’s probably not best to house them next to the lions.

We were lucky enough to check out a brief demo of the game (and you can too!) and instantly saw how a game like Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers is guaranteed to build on your knowledge of nature. While it was easy enough to find things like “gorilla” or “white rhinoceros,” I found myself completely stumped when told to track down a “Hadaba Ibis” or “Caecilias.” Sure it meant relying on a variety of hint options, but once I did, I got my first glimpse of what these creatures look like. It’s a neat experience.

Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers

Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers

In a nice twist, Eric and Patrick told us that the preserve-building elements of the game won’t mimic the style of gameplay you’d see in a typical social zoo game. This isn’t about building concession stands and attracting tourists – it’s about creating as authentic a habitat as possible for your animals to thrive in.

Likewise, there are no plans to add in thematically appropriate Disney character cameos either. Don’t expect to see Simba or the cast of The Jungle Book turn up here – Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers is about celebrating nature in its purest form. (That said, we were told that they’re always open to the wants of the fans, so you never know – Baloo might show up one day if enough players demand it.)

Can’t wait to spot an elephant, crocodile, or red-flanked duiker of your own? Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers should be arriving on Facebook in the next few weeks.