Hidden object puzzles and games have been around basically forever. I wouldn't be surprised to find some of the original Egyptian hieroglyphics were actually puzzles for their kids. When I was a child I remember doing all of the hidden object puzzles in the Highlights magazines. Where's Waldo and other seek and find books are still incredibly popular. While I was in college, I wrote a paper about the educational benefits of these types of puzzles for kids as well as the elderly or those struggling with cognitive disabilities. However, regardless of what benefits may come from them educationally… really, they are just plain fun. Frustrating, at times, but also just plain fun.
Also check out our article on digital tabletop games to chill with!
What Are Hidden Object Games?
A hidden object game (also referred to as hidden pictures, seek-and-find, or hidden puzzles) is a type of game or puzzle where the player must find certain objects that are hidden in a picture or scene. Some are fairly straightforward where you are just looking for a list of objects. Others try to incorporate a story into the puzzle. Either way, they are generally very casual games. While there are oodles of these games available on mobile devices, that are also quite a few very fun ones available on Steam.
Let's take a deeper look at a five of my, personal, favorites and what makes them each unique.
Despite the simple black and white, hand drawn graphics… Hidden Folks is my all time favorite. Every map is interactive with 500+ unique interactions, so you can click on a door to have it open or a bush to have it part. That alone makes it more entertaining as you are not only looking throughout the image but you have a desire to poke around and click on everything. The team even advertises there are 2000+ “mouth-originated sound effects” in the game. This is a game that I have played multiple times and it always makes me smile. I sincerely hope that Adriaan de Jongh and team create more of these.
Available on many platforms, including Steam.
Side note- they even have a “playable” tee shirt you can purchase. And yes, I really want one.
Hidden Through Time
Hidden Through Time is a fun hidden objects game that gives you hints for each item and even has a level editor where you can create your own maps! The levels progress through different eras of time (hence, the name) and you can even purchase additional dlcs for new areas such as Rome and the Vikings. With the level editor, players can create their own levels and upload them for others to play. Thus the game touts “endless playability” although in my case I found several of the player made maps were not always well made. And often the hints given by players were either obscene or in other languages. The actual game itself is amazing however, and well worth your time.
Available on Steam here.
100 Hidden Cats
Developer/Publisher Anatoliy Loginovskikh has created a whole series of “100 Hidden…” games. These include everything from 100 Hidden Cupcakes to 100 Hidden Aliens. As a budding crazy cat lady, my favorite is 100 Hidden Cats.
Sadly, this is also an incredibly short game. There is only one picture (would be nice if there were several) on which you find 100 cats. Luckily, it is a very LARGE picture which you can move around on. It is nice that the cats are colored once you find them, and there is a helpful counter on the bottom of the screen. And, of course, there are several more varieties of the game for you to get if you enjoyed this one. Even 100 Hidden Snails.
If you are looking for a little more of a story to go with your hidden objects, there are plenty of games for that as well! The Queen's Quest series of games would be my first recommendation. In fact, Queen's Quest 4: Sacred Truce is one of my favorite games. While each game in the series has its own, unique storyline, they each revolve around solving a mystery in a fantasy realm. While these games are hidden object games, they utilize that as more of an interactive means of moving the story forward rather than simply solving a puzzle.
Out of Sight
The game Out of Sight is a newcomer to the hidden object scene. Developed by NinjaDuck Games, it just released in March 2021. The vibrant graphics are pleasant to look at as you pan and zoom around the level to find the objects listed. The use of the 3D world is a fun twist. They do include hints if you are having difficulty finding the objects. The music for the game is also incredibly relaxing.
One thing to mention, however… if you (like me) suffer from motion sickness, but careful how fast you spin around the environment.