Unlike other games of this genre, Hidden Object offers little in the way of customising the game such as difficulty settings and volume levels. You can, however, play this game in different languages. This feature is achieved by selecting from flags representing the languages. Up to four game profiles can be created with each one represented by a picture of a chicken – actually the pictures are of a hen or cockerel.
The game starts of as Brian and Gina are relating the story of their first adventure to a movie producer who is planning to make a Hollywood blockbuster out of their actions. Hardly making things are easier is the fact that Brian and Gina are no longer the best of friends and give the impression they would rather not be together in the same room.
The game’s opening comic book style sequence, with overlaid animated representations of Brian and Gina, displays the dialogue in speech bubbles (no voice actors with this title). There is also background music which I found quickly got on my nerves. To move through any dialogue sequences you need to click the mouse button or you can take the option to move on to the main action as the story unfolds.
The game features a series of tasks which need to be completed by the player. These tasks are displayed in a dialogue box with appropriate images. Having accepted the tasks you then move on to the appropriate scene that contains various hotspots or interactive areas. Running across the bottom of the screen, both in Adventure or Hidden Object modes, are the various options available to you. You can check your “To Do” list, make use of a rechargeable Hint feature or access the game’s main menu. This area will also contain the inventory storing the items you have found.
When you see a magnifying glass icon then that will lead to a Hidden Object scene. The items you will need to locate will be listed across the top of the scene. In some cases the brief description of the objects will be straightforward but not always. For examples Zombie food means you need to look for a brain.
Having played numerous Hidden Object games, I can usually manage to find all the listed objects with only minimal use of the Hint feature. In fact sometimes I can manage without using the Hint feature at all. But not, I have to admit, with this game. Many of the Hidden Objects were so small, and in some cases, concealed behind other items, that I really struggled. It is not an exaggeration to reveal that there were some occasions when the Hint feature (a film reel that spins during recharging) was responsible for locating nearly 50% of the required objects. I feel the developers of this game have not got it right when deciding on the difficulty level of the Hidden Object scenes.
Each set of tasks will require you to find certain pieces of equipment. Once found these items will be transferred to the inventory. Once in the inventory, these objects will need to be used to complete the tasks. You will need to click on areas identified by a pulsing circle icon and reveal the items needed for the task relevant to that area. The items need to be dragged from the inventory to the area in order for them to be used. In many of the scenes there are hidden chickens which you can collect if you have nothing better to do.
From time to time you will need to solve a puzzle or mini-game to make progress in the game. There is no Skip option but you can use the Hint feature to provide some guidance. Once a puzzle has been completed in the main game then it can be replayed from the Notebook options available from the menu screen.
Linking together the various elements of the game are animated cut-scenes that follow the comic book style of action with dialogue in speech bubbles. While there are some amusing moments, and some challenging puzzles, this was not a game that I enjoyed playing. Priced at £5.10, Hidden Runaway requires a 2.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM running Windows Vista and later.
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