Hidden Folks

Do you appreciate hidden object games? Do you want a hidden object game with the sense of whimsy that you got from the antics of Waldo and searching the intricate photographs of I Spy? Do you like funny noises? Then I have a game for you.

Hidden Folks is a take on the hidden object game genre primarily led by game designer Adriaan de Jongh and illustrator Sylvain Tegroeg . With hand drawn graphics that gives the game the impression of a hidden objects picture book, you are tasked to find certain people and objects across increasingly elaborate worlds.

There are six themed worlds in the game with different numbers of levels. The flow of the game has you starting each world with a small, introductory level that you could blast through in a minute before deciding that you’re ready to go on to the more complex levels of the set. As custom, you’re given a list of things to find before you can move on the next level.

You might end up resorting to clicking on everything while playing, but that’s okay, because you’re encouraged to. Misclicks don’t punish you, but reward you with the game’s sound design. All of the sound effects in Hidden Folks are made by the glorious instrument called the mouth, giving a goofy feel as you click around. Clicking on ground creates a poofing noise, cars make “vroom vroom” noises or mouthed out beeps, notable NPCs give excited grunts, worried moans, etc. Native Americans do chants, though I’m not sure if it’s bad, as it’s not my lane.

The game does not have music, but it has a lot of chatter depending on where your screen is positioned. Move over the scene of a busy street and you hear the cars come and go in a chorus of mouth noises, go over a crowd and you hear a bunch of people make a variety of wacky noises, etc. The sound design of Hidden Folks is excellent and gives a whimsical atmosphere that instills this child-like joy in me. It makes me think back to poring over I Spy books, which, in my opinion, are superior to Where’s Waldo. You too can harness the power of these mouth noises as the developers put out a pack of sound effects to use, good for any non-commercial use.

Hidden Folks is also a puzzle game to some degree. While there’s figuring out somebody’s location through their description, some characters and objects need some work to appear. For instance, there are several characters that need to be in a certain state to be clicked. For example, you can spot a rock fan you’re looking for in a crowd, but they have to be rocking out first to be clicked, so you need to poke around to get some music playing. These simple puzzles and the lack of punishment for clicking on the wrong things encourages you to engage with the game’s world more closely than you would with a standard game in the genre.

There are also a few levels in the game that bizarrely turns into an escort mission, with you clicking around to get rid of things in your subject’s way. I kinda got stuck in the first type of this mission because you need to click and drag things, which is something that doesn’t immediately occur to you and it’s something that you need to know to get some things in the game.

Otherwise, Hidden Folks is a solid, short time. It’s a goofy game where you can just kinda click around to hear things make funny noises and I found it to be a nice game to relax with. I got my copy of the game through itch.io, but it’s also available on mobile devices and the Switch, which I see as perfect fits for this game.

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