Review: Hidden Through Time

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Hidden Through Time, developed by Crazy Monkey Studios, is a game about finding things. The levels progress through different periods of time such as:

  • The Stone Age
  • Ancient Egypt
  • The Middle Ages
  • The Wild West

Players hunt down objects, with the help of subtle clues, in order to move forward in history.

The Good

We recently had grandma and grandpa over to visit. While they were over, we decided to play Hidden Through Time together. Sitting around the television, we hunted objects through not just one but eleven levels. Grandma was super good at finding things. Who knew?!? By the time we were done, she said that she really liked the game.

Wyatt also enjoyed using the level editor (see video below). He says:

“Just say that I liked it… that it was good… that it was awesome!”

He notes that the object placement could be better when duplicating the same object. For example: A player goes to place a tree. Hidden Through Time allows you to place one tree and then forces you to go back to the object toolbar to select another tree before placing.

Wyatt and I also liked:

  • The hand-drawn design aesthetic.
  • The levels being in color, unlike Hidden Folks (which we’ve played on iOS).
  • How the controls feel dialed in, making movement around the map and the ability to zoom in and out a breeze.
  • The gibberish language the characters speak when poked.
  • How well Hidden Through Time plays in a group.

The Bad

  • Object hints, at times, do not make sense.
  • Size of objects often makes them harder to find than they should be—I hate eggs!—.
  • Load times between the main menu screen, level selection screen, and individual levels can take a few moments.

The Ugly

  • Hidden Through Time needs an overall hint system for those times when you are super stuck. This is more of a suggestion than a game destroying experience. We, as a family, haven’t gotten stuck in-game yet.

Conclusion

Wyatt and I have enjoyed our time with Hidden Through Time. This is a perfect game to play individually and as a family. The music is relaxing and does not annoy—as a parent, this is important—. We recommend this game to others looking for a digital Where’s Waldo experience.

5/5 – A great game to play as a family or while hidden away in the bathroom. Seriously, just go hide in there, the kids don’t have to know!

Title: Hidden Through Time
Developer: Crazy Monkey Studios
Platform: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Android, Xbox One, Windows, and iOS
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $7.99

Review by Bryan and Wyatt Hall

*Hidden Through Time was reviewed using a code provided by EvolvePR.

From Across the Net – “Raving Reviews – Jedi: Fallen Order”

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My friend Joe, over at the RavingLuhn, wrote a review for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. I have yet to pick up this game again (it’s been a few weeks) after landing on the Wookie homeworld, Kashyyyk.

Fallen Order is one of the best Star Wars video games to have ever been released. It hits a lot of the high notes required to make a Star Wars game a compelling and memorable experience. It’s concrete proof that developers need to make expansive single player games in the Star Wars universe. And yet, on the backside of spending 35 hours to complete the game to 100% the experience feels a little empty.

You can read more here

Press Start – Destiny 2: Forsaken

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While on a mission with Cayde-6, you experience a mission gone sideways. Things happen. Serious stuff guys! Friends mourn the loss of their friend… and the universe moves on. But not you. Revenge is a dish best served cold. Thankfully, you are geared up against the cold blackness of space. It’s time to lock-and-load, my friends. Vengeance is the players, says Destiny 2: Forsaken.

Death of Cayde-6
Death of Cayde-6
Death of Cayde-6
Deal with the Devil
Deal with the Devil
Our Heroes
The Journey Begins

After reading so many good reviews, I finally picked up Destiny 2: Forsaken. I’ve sunk a few hours into the game already. Forsaken reminds me of why I like Bungie games:

  • Solid Controls
  • Cinematics
  • Huge Set Pieces

I am enjoying what I’ve played so far. More thoughts to come; more thoughts on the topic of revenge and the Christian.

How about you? Have you played through the Destiny 2: Forsaken campaign? What did you think?

In the Shadows of Fortnite

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Last November, Tabitha and I were struggling through the Fortnite craze with Wyatt. At the time, I penned a blog post that opened with this:

“I feel caught between being a parent and a gamer. Caught between my son loving Fortnite and me seeing the game for what it is, exploitative. I find myself fighting the urge to erase the game from my house. To pretend that Fortnite does not exist and funnel Wyatt towards games that are not built upon:

  • The addictive free-to-play foundations of games such as Candy Crush and Clash of Clans. Games that are built to encourage consumers to spend real life money to advance/keep playing. Pay-to-win, children!
  • Female characters designed to be objectified/sexual eye candy.
  • A non-stop gameplay loop.
  • An in-game store that creates an artificial need to buy skins (think: clothing/costumes) and items that will expire within an arbitrary time limit.

I can feel my parents surging within me, screaming, “JUST PULL THE PLUG!” But I’m trying to push through that deep rooted feeling. I’m trying to like Fortnite for my son; I’m trying to parent through it.”

I wrote much more than what I’m sharing above. The Fortnite post was up, on this site, for a couple of hours until I removed it. Not that I disagreed with anything that I had written, but I realized that the game had changed.

There comes a point, in parenting, where you need to work through things on your own. I realized that I was painting myself, as a parent, into a corner. Failing to realize:

  • That my attitude towards Fornite might change in the future.
  • That one day Wyatt might discover my blog and read what I have written about him.
  • That I want to be careful with how I represent my son online.
  • That some things are best worked out as a family. Privately.

Yes, we struggled as a family through Fortnite. I know many of you did. But me writing that unpublished blog post made me re-think how I blog about myself and my family. Not everything that happens in our homes, with our kids, needs to end up online.

Press Start – What Remains of Edith Finch

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Developer Giant Sparrow’s What Remains of Edith Finch has been on my radar for quite sometime. Thankfully, one of the PlayStation Plus games this month happens to be the above said title. So I fired up the game for the first time tonight. Enjoy my opening photo safari below.

So much lovely detail.

How curious…

Built by Sven.

Sirius Black once had a family tree…

More photos to come, I’m sure, as I continue to play.

Homecoming: Why are video games so hard to come back to?

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A long time ago (2014), in a living room far far away, I asked Wyatt to help me create my Dragon Age: Inquisition character.

Me on my throne.

We created a:

  • Scrawny Elf
  • With a facial tattoo that covers his entire face
  • Who carries a two-handed sword
  • And has a deep voice

I loved playing as him.

I sunk hours into Dragon Age: Inquisition until I hit the wall and got stuck in the game. At this point, I am sure, a new game entered my orbit, and I blasted away from my elf and the inquisition.

My throne room.

I loaded Dragon Age: Inquisition once more last night. Combat/gameplay rhythms were unfamiliar after being away from the game for so long. My elf had not changed… but I have.

Unlike reading multiple books at the same time, I think video games are harder not to play fully invested in. With big AAA games, I tend to forget about the:

  • Controls (muscle memory does help with skill-based games)
  • Story (I’m thankful for the games that feature a story recap)
  • How much I cared/was invested in characters

So I wanted to ask you:

  1. How long is too long to come back to a game?
  2. At what point do you give up/delete/move on because you simply do not care anymore?

Let me know in the comments below!

On My Radar – Draugen

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This looks fantastic! I’m getting some BioShock Infinite vibes with the companion character, Lissie. Cannot wait for Draugen to hit the PlayStation 4.

INSIDE

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I could never quite figure out what was happening in Playdead’s INSIDE. Even as the end credits rolled, I wasn’t sure what I had just experienced (thank you, Wikipedia, for clearing things up for me). The world of INSIDE comes across as harsh and hostile. A world in which life doesn’t have much meaning. Yet by the end of the game, INSIDE flips the typical video game narrative. For once, I wasn’t the hero.

4/5 – INSIDE is worth the trip due to it’s fantastic ending. Just wait for it. Don’t spoil it.

Title: INSIDE
Developer: Playdead
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and iOS
Reviews on: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $15

Not in My House – PlayStation Classic

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Woke up this morning to read that Sony has decided to cash-in on the retro console movement with their own PlayStation Classic. This $100 PS1 features 20 games, including Final Fantasy VII. With my foot firmly in place, the PlayStation Classic will never enter my home.

The Foot is Down!

How else am I supposed to teach Wyatt about games curation and corporate greed? Take Final Fantasy VII for instance, the game is available on just about every format. As with Skyrim, I’m sure you’ll soon be able to play Final Fantasy VII on your refrigerator door. Greed lives on your refrigerator door. Don’t feed greed nor the need to play games on appliances.

The PlayStation Classic is worthless beyond nostalgia. Sony has had most of the PlayStation 1 library available for years on the PlayStation Store. The games are playable on modern consoles and televisions, right now. No special $100 box and original uncomfortable controller required.

I understood why Nintendo released the NES Classic and SNES Classic. Both featured games that were hard to find, expensive, and did not play well with modern TVs. Providing many popular games, in one box, with a save state feature, was a total win-win for gamers everywhere. Not so much with Sony’s PlayStation Classic.

I will not be spending $100 for what amounts to a repackaging of games already available on my PlayStation 4. I’d like to say that I’d be interested in a PlayStation 2 Classic but all of the games I’d want are already available in HD remastered glory, today!

You dug too deep into the gaming mine, Sony. You have plundered the riches of your history through constant availability. As for me and my house, we will not be buying a PlayStation Classic. Wyatt’s not getting one of these for Christmas.

Traveling Back to the Media Past

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Edward Kenway, protagonist of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, is an unlikable gent.

Redeeming Qualities: ZERO.

I first encountered him when playing Black Flag on the PlayStation 3. The game somehow failed to capture me back then. Nearly five years later, I’m loving the game on the PlayStation 4. Well, everything but Edward. Here is to hoping that there is a redemption arc of sorts.

In another blast from 2013’s past, Tabitha and I started watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I remember starting this series, back in the day, and not liking it at all. Tone felt off, writing too earnest, etc. This time around, we are enjoying the popcorn action.

Which brings me to ask:

Is there a media series that you passed on originally but later came back and loved?

Race the Sun

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The sun travels across the afternoon sky. Flying along in your sleek solar craft, you race towards the horizon. Will the sun set before you complete your trek over many regions? Depends on how bumpy your flight is.

Speed, Glorious Speed

Race the Sun has been a joyous surprise for me. Coming as a free downloadable game on PlayStation Plus, Race the Sun features gameplay hooks that sink deep.

Race-The-Sun-Logo-BlackBGRace the Sun is an endless runner platform game, much like Temple Run. Your solar craft is forever racing forward, unless it hits something and explodes. These Tron-esque explosions happen often. Learning from failure is the name of the game. Race the Sun features simple flight controls of moving right to left as well as a single jump button. As you weave your way through shape-filled mazes, power ups such as speed boosts and jumping litter the game world. Sounds easy, right?

The further you rocket into the distance, the closer the sun comes to setting. Shadows begin to cast off of the minimalist but deadly landscape. As your eyes struggle with the speed, obstacles, and route decisions, death is but a heartbeat away.

What keeps me coming back to the party?

  • A world that randomly generates every 24 hours
  • A sense of speed that I have not felt since F-Zero GX on the GameCube.
  • Fun objectives to complete
  • Personal high scores to beat

Race the Sun is the experience I needed to renew my faith in videogames–seriously, I’ve felt burned out. I can’t recommend it enough. Definitely worth the price of admission if you happen not to download it this month (May 2015) on PlayStation Plus. Come on, you owe it to yourself to race the great ball of fire.

DEFCON 5wavesplinter5/5 – Just buy it already!

Wave SplinterTitle: Race the Sun
Developer: Flippfly
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Vita
Reviews on: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $10

Paperbound – Giggle Fest

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I have been playing videogames with my son since he was three years old. We have grown from sharing a single controller, with him pushing a limited range of buttons, to full blown sessions of coop goodness. At the age of six now, he recently completed Skylanders Trap Team without my help. Still not sure how I feel about that. But I love sharing my hobby with him.

headerThe other night we fired up Dissident Logic’s Paperbound on the PlayStation 4.

Devious giggles ensued as my son and I slashed at each other and hopped all over the stage, swapping gravity at will. The little dude had trouble differing the jump button from the gravity button, but did a good job overall. His giggling is what got me though. He only does it when he feels like he is getting away with something. Makes me grin.

A few rounds in, my son started wanting to swap his character after each round. I call this the Skylanders-effect. (Side Note: For those of you who do not have kids or haven’t played Skylanders, the game allows you to swap characters on the fly.) Paperbound‘s minimal menu setup allows for kid-friendly character swapping. This kept our menu time brief and our game time at the forefront.

Paperbound is a solid couch coop that would be an absolute blast with four real life players (the game does offer an AI option). For my son and I, Paperbound scratches the brawler itch with a cool aesthetic and non-gory gameplay. There is nothing like hearing my son giggle as he slices through my character or pegs me with a pair of scissors. Little does he know that I’m holding back on him. The boy is going down. Hi-ya!

DEFCON 5wavesplinter5/5 – Just buy it already!

Wave SplinterTitle: Paperbound
Developer: Dissident Logic
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4
Reviews on: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $9.99