HOGs Finally Come To Facebook With Hidden Object Show
Most Facebook games are RPGs or tycoon-style sims. Until now, one of the most popular casual game genres, the hidden object game, has been almost completely absent from Facebook. The reason why probably has to do with the business model of Facebook games, which inevitably revolves around selling virtual goods to people. How do you make a free-to-play hidden object game that still convinces people to spend money? The Hidden Object Show is Gogii Games’s attempt to make a Facebook-friendly hidden object game and it’s shaping up quite well.
The Hidden Object Show tasks users with finding as many objects as they can in a given scene within a two-minute time limit. Before you play a scene, you spin a wheel that randomly chooses one of six possible rule variations for your session. You can use Skip Chips, if you have any, to remove a game mode you don’t particularly like from the rotation. The game modes are all familiar challenges from HOGs: List (search from names of objects hidden in the scene), Silhouette (find objects using their silhouettes as clues), Lights Out (you can see only a small portion of the screen and search for objects by name), Picture Pieces (the scene is broken down into a grid and you match sample images to the correct grid), Twisted Picture Pieces (Picture Pieces, but sample images may be presented to you tilted or upside-down), Letter Getter (where you find hidden letters to fill in the names of objects hidden in a scene).
You can find Skip Chips hidden in scenes or you can purchase them for Tickets, which you earn by finding objects and hidden tickets successfully. You can also purchase Hints to use in the actual game for Tickets. While you can’t spend real money to quickly gain tons of Tickets in the current preview build of the game, it seems likely that this is how The Hidden Object Show will monetize. The preview build has only two scenes unlocked, Arcade and Pirate Ship, but there’s over a dozen more ready to play if you can amass enough Tickets to pay what it costs to unlock them.
Playing a hidden object game on a two-minute timer can be a real challenge, especially if the wheel assigns you a particularly difficult challenge like Letter Getter. Hidden Object Show definitely has more replay value than the average HOG, simply because you can slowly and methodically ferret out every object in a scene. As you replay scenes you’ll gradually memorize where major items are located, but it’s easy to play a scene for the tenth or twelfth time and still be discovering new objects in it. You can play The Hidden Object Show as much as you like, with no mechanic like energy that serves mainly to lock you out of gameplay.
The Hidden Object Show has great potential, so long as the developer is able to support the game with lots of new scenes and modes of play. Some of the existing modes of play may merit a bit of fine-tuning, as well, but Gogii has a solid idea here. The only thing that might be against The Hidden Object Show is the relatively low resolution that Facebook games run at. A few slim items to hunt in the preview scenes proved themselves impossible to correctly click, due to problems targeting it with the tip of the pointer. If Gogii resolves that issue, then The Hidden Object Show will play as well as any HOG you might pay money to download.