The World of Waiting
Disney has a new hidden object game (HOG), and despite some of the rumors and urban legends that still haunt the House of Mouse, it has nothing to do with finding bad words or naughty imagery in movies like Aladdin, The Lion King, or The Little Mermaid (Say, Disney – are you taking pitches for game ideas?).
No, Disney Hidden Worlds is very innocent. It also features its own unique cast of characters that guide the player through several familiar Disney worlds – an admirable addition, given Disney could have easily phoned in the game’s presentation. In fact, Disney Hidden Worlds would be a perfect “starter” HOG for young people if not for some problematic bugs and an energy system that makes it difficult to play for an extended period of time without paying.
Disney Hidden Worlds stages several hidden object scenes across popular movie properties like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Tangled. If you know your way around a hidden object game, then you should be able to jump straight into Disney Hidden Worlds. Each scenario provides a list of items to find in a crowded scene, and you simply tap or click on the object to grab it.
The faster you find items, the higher your score multiplier becomes. The higher your score at the end of a hunt, the faster you fill up stars that indicate you’ve mastered the scene.
One of the nicest things about Disney Hidden Worlds is its presentation, which goes beyond some static images of famous scenes from Disney’s classics. You play through the game as Chrona, an artist that has accidentally unleashed an inky villain into the magical world of Disney. Chrona’s plight is told through fully animated and voice-acted cut scenes, a rarity for HOGs. In order to put things right, Chrona needs to gather ink with the help of her assistants, the wild-looking Inklings.
Here’s where things begin to get sticky for Disney Hidden Worlds. You need to find and/or craft ink, which is done by completing hidden object scenes. Unfortunately, the game is driven by an energy system, and engaging a hidden object scene takes a huge chunk of energy. You can “upgrade” scenes so that hidden object scenes take up less energy, but the difference is negligible.
Waiting around for your bar to refill takes forever – and so does crafting many of the items necessary to move on. In some instances you’re looking at a wait of an hour, unless you want to purchase and spend hard currency. Kids are likely to get bored very quickly.
It’s too bad, because Disney Hidden Worlds is put together with youngsters in mind. The hidden object scenes are easier than what you’ll find in the average HOG, and can even be broken up into quadrants for easier object-finding. It’s a thoughtful addition that also makes the game more accessible for players on phones.
Disney Hidden Worlds also has some bugs. The game occasionally crashes or jumps ahead of itself, stranding players in an odd limbo where they can’t do anything because they haven’t received the proper story prompt.
But while the game’s glitches will be fixed over time, it’s less likely we’ll see an end to the tyrannical energy system. That said, if you have a sibling or a kid who has expressed interest in HOGs but finds them a bit too complicated, Disney Hidden Worlds will enthrall them – at least until they run out of energy and have to go do something else for an hour.