Looking back on 2011, we are truly amazed at the number of hidden object games that came out - and even more amazed at how many of them were really good! Continuing our look back at this year in gaming, today we've assembled a list of the top-rated hidden object games on Gamezebo for 2011.
Yes, Codeminion's Phantasmat is set in a haunted house, but in don't let the well-worn plot device fool you, though. In a genre where so many games are rushed to market,Phantasmatis a breath of fresh air. The developer's respect for the hidden object audience, coupled with a clear understanding of what this audience likes and doesn't like, makes buying this game a no-brainer.
The Frog Prince may not be the first guy who leaps to mind when you think about intimidating fairy tale villains, but he's up to some pretty serious badness in Blue Tea Games' impressive Dark Parables: The Exiled Prince. Tea. People are mysteriously vanishing as they stroll through the woods and it's up to you to find out why - and to put a stop to it once and for all.
While each individual element of Treasures of Mystery Island can be seen elsewhere, the features come together in a highly enjoyable, lengthy package that includes plenty of variety, bonus items, and secrets to discover.
Vanishing Hitchhiker does a wonderful job of creating an eerie atmosphere. This is one of the few games in recent history that have made us jump in our chairs. The graphics are realistic and there is a constant feeling that someone is watching you. The sound effects and music are subtle but enhance the feeling that you are not alone in this town.
The plot of Agency of Anomalies is more like something out of the X-Files than the now-cliched haunted hospital plotline of many other games, which comes as a breath of fresh air. Gameplay is a wonderful blend of HOG scenes and puzzles, along with achievements to earn and plenty of secrets to find.
Mystery Trackers 2: Raincliff
Be prepared to spend a long time in Raincliff, because this was one of the longest games to have been released in some time. When the game opens, you only have access to a small number of areas, but as you progress more and more of the town will open up, and there are numerous places to visit and explore along the way.
Gardens of Time
The number of hidden object games on Facebook may still be relatively small, but the quality of new releases is steadily increasing. And Gardens of Time might just be the best yet. It has all of the features inherent to a great HOG—gorgeous visuals, plenty of scenes to explore, and even an interesting world filled with great characters—and tailors it almost perfectly to Facebook. There are a few issues with repetition, but Gardens of Time is sure to satisfy any HOG nut.
Love Chronicles: The Sword and the Rose
Love Chronicles: The Sword and the Rose opens with a foreboding yet lovely animated sequence that not only sets the stage for the game but also sets expectations very high. Does the game live up to them? In a word, yes. This lengthy, well-crafted fairy tale is easily one of the finest hidden object adventures we've played this year.
Nightmare Realm is an odd game. It looks like a fairly straightforward horror adventure, yet it's set primarily in a colorful, almost lighthearted fantasy world. And while it never even approaches the horrific, it's so thematically dark as to be one of the most disturbing adventures I've ever played - but also one of the most engaging , engrossing and outright entertaining.
Though on the surface, hidden object games might seem easy to make—just toss a load of random things together so people can sort through them—the difference between a great hidden object game and a so-so one comes down to clever design, skillful story construction and loving attention to detail. Lucky for us, the people at Vogat Games are experts at making the former variety and F.A.C.E.S. is a stellar example.
Macabre Mysteries: Curse of the Nightingale
Blue Tea Games debuted their new Macabre Mysteries franchise in 2011. The first title in the series, Curse of the Nightingale, takes what Blue Tea does well—gorgeous graphics and an intriguing storyline—and manages to crank them up to yet another level; the result is one unforgettable hidden object adventure.
Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek looks to be just another haunted town, amnesiac protagonist, dark hidden object game. And it is, but it’s also so much more. Enigmatis is a gorgeous game that takes a tired storyline and makes it interesting again.
Mystery Legends: Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast is the follow-up to Mystery Legends: Phantom of the Opera, one of the rare HOGs that we've ever given a perfect score to. How do you follow up on perfection? It's a tough job, but Beauty and the Beast comes tantalizingly close to pulling it off.
The Dark Hills of Cherai: The Regal Scepter
It's fairly common for hidden object games to turn to history, myth and legend for their inspiration, but the range of cultural traditions they reference is often woefully narrow. The Dark Hills of Cherai: The Regal Scepter, from Indian developer Chayowo Games, forgoes the overused Victorian mansion/Celtic ruin/19th century village themes to create its own unique brand of hidden object gameplay, wrapped artfully up in the magic and lore of India.
The story alone - which was inspired by the H. P. Lovecraft novel At the Mountains of Madness - is reason enough to play this hidden object adventure, but it also offers an excellent hint system, interesting characters to interact with, and the ability to experiment with different items instead of being forced down a single obvious path. These elements combine for an immersive world with an intriguing mystery to solve.
Looking for more great hidden object games from 2011? Be sure to check out our reviews of:
- Mystery Case Files: Escape from Ravenhearst,
- Hallowed Legends: Templar
- Strange Cases: The Secrets of Grey Mist Lake
- Echoes of the Past: The Citadels of Time
- Urban Legends: The Maze
- Oddly Enough: Peid Piper
- Awakening: The Goblin Kingdom
- Twisted Lands: Insomniac
- Written Legends: Nightmare at Sea
- Sacra Terra: Angelic Night
- Timeless: The Forgotten Town
- Tales of Lagoona: Orphans of the Ocean
- Grim Facade: Mystery of Venice
- Dracula: Love Kills
- Golden Trails 2: The Lost Legacy
- Dark Dimensions: City of Fog
- Fashion Forward
- Princess Isabella: Return of the Curse
- Spirits of Mystery: Amber Maiden
- Snark Busters 2: All Revved Up
- Gravely Silent: House of Deadlock
- The Fool
- Empress of the Deep 2: Song of the Blue Whale
- PuppetShow: Lost Town
- Hallowed Legends: Samhain
- Margrave: The Curse of the Severed Heart
- Maestro: Music of Death
- Dying for Daylight, Chapter 1
- Treasure Seekers: The Time Has Come
- Shadow Wolf Mysteries: Curse of the Full Moon