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By: Chillingo

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By Dan Zuccarelli | Apr 27, 2011 |

Play Kalei is a trippy kaleidoscope twist on hidden object photo hunts

Hidden object games have always been a little hit or miss for me. I typically enjoy them at the start, but over time grow bored once I learn the designers tricks and know what to look for. Also, there’s rarely reason for replay, leaving these games as a one time play experience. Play Kalei, then, has seemed to drop out of the sky and break all those preconceptions, taking a standard genre and turning it on its ear. I’m happy about this.

Play Kalei is a hidden object photo hunting game with a twist. Instead of trying to find something odd hidden in the picture (like a wine bottle or spool or yarn or whatever) you need to match kaleidoscope images. The game will take a random spot on the picture and show you a kaleidoscopic image of that area, then you drag your finger around the image and try to recreate the image in a set amount of time. The less time you take, the better your score.

When you start your search, the timer begins ticking down and the race is on to try and find the matching kaleidoscope image as fast as possible. If you take too long the image starts turning dark at the edges, slowly pushing you towards the answer like a spotlight. This will help you out if you’re struggling and really don’t know where to look.

There are 16 “chapters” with 5 images per chapter and 3 searches per image, so it’s a pretty good amount of stuff included with the game. The images in the game are pretty varied and seem to be lightly organized by theme, though it’s not really important. There’s no plot or story to speak of. It’s just a photo searching game, not an adventure – which is totally fine since it works great as a hunt.

What I really enjoyed about Play Kalei is that I’ve never seen a hidden object game before that offered such longevity before. I’ve played and enjoyed many of those types of games, but they tend to offer little in the way of replayability. Not only that, once you learn the designers tricks about where they like to hide stuff onscreen it tends to get easier the longer the game goes. By utilizing this unique searching you negate both of those problems.

Play Kalei

Since the kaleidoscope can just randomly choose places on the picture for you to find, there’s no tricks to look for when trying to solve puzzles. You have to go by feel and color and work your way towards the answer, so it feels fresh every time. This not only keeps you from falling into a routine, but keeps the game interesting for as long as you want to play it.

But the feature that really gives the game legs is the ability to import and play with your own pictures. Any photos that you can sync to your iOS device are fair game for Play Kalei. It’ll load them up and then make them playable, and since what you’re finding is a kaleidoscopic image of a section of your picture, it looks seamless and nothing like those lame photo hunt pics. It’s a great way to personalize the experience.

Having spent my time with a good number of HOG’s, I can honestly say this is the one I could return to every once in a while and enjoy for quite some time. With the ability to load my own images, it guarantees I’ll always have new content to explore and new things to find. An excellent choice for hidden object fans on the go.

Pros:

  • Unique photo hunt mechanic, ability to import your own photos.

Cons:

  • The kaleidoscopic image doesn’t give many clues in sparse images.
Read more: Play Kalei, Chillingo

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