We’re all familiar with the popular find ’em all books, Where’s Wally (or Where’s Waldo if you’re from the States), densely populated pages filled with similar colours, patterns, and stories with the one mission, find Wally. While these entertained our minds for hours, there’s just something so dated about a BOOK. Introducing Hidden Folks, a game that takes the concept of Where’s Wally, and drags it into a digital age.
If you’ve played Where’s Wally you’ll immediately know what to do in Hidden Folks. Much like Where’s Wally Hidden Folks tasks players with finding hidden folks in amongst the various scenarios within the game. However unlike Wally and his chums, this game isn’t at all colourful and there’s nary a stripey jersey and beanie hat to be found.
Stripped of all colour, Hidden Folk is a huge monochrome drawing filled with animated sprites all pawing for your attention. No longer are the pages filled with static scenarios which are only played out in our heads, these are all alive and they’re rapidly growing. At first, Hidden Folk doesn’t seem all that bad. You’re given a list of things to find and a few clues on where to find them. However the further you progress the bigger each scenario becomes until you’re ultimately dumbfounded by the sheer scope of the area you’re required to scout.
The most curious part of the game is that its entire library of sound effects seem to be made up of peoples voices. From the strum of a guitar to the rustle of a bush, all of these sounds have been lovingly recreated by, what I assume is a talented cast of voice sound effect actors. It’s definitely a nice touch. This is also present while you search around each scenario as environmental sounds also play out as you move around the scene. The sound design in this game is actually really impressive.
Hidden Folk is however a very short game. If you have a talent for these types of games, you could probably clear all of the available levels (not to completion, I might add) in a good few hours. There is the added benefit of finding everything in every scenario, but some are just so tiny, it’s almost impossible.
While the game’s aesthetic is intentionally simple, after a solid hour of searching for hidden folk I found the lack of colour awfully monotonous and ultimately off putting. I just wanted to grab my pack of felt-tip-pens and start colouring. Perhaps that could be DLC for the game? Jokes aside, the sheer plainness of the game did have an effect on my enjoyment, which is a shame.
This monotony is however broken in between certain scenes when you’re presented with a task to help someone cross a path however. This acts as more of a puzzle than a find ’em, and has you scratching your head to figure out what exactly you need to do next.
Hidden Folk wasn’t without its bugs, either, as not all clicks were registered. Of course in a game such as this, the click registration has to be so particular to prevent people from just randomly clicking everywhere, but at times it felt a little too fine and just wouldn’t register clicks the first few times.
The game itself though is an interesting evolution of the find ’em all genre. Now, rather than sifting through pages, players can dive into the living worlds of Hidden folks both at their desks or on the loo as the game is available on both mobile and Steam. What’s more, it shows the growing trend of traditionally physical media turning digital. While it’s not quite a digital Where’s Wally, it’s close enough, and it does a pretty incredible job in its own regard.