2020’s Hidden Through Time was an interesting Where’s Wally-a-like that had you searching for hidden objects through many historical locations. It was a cute little game that suffered from a little bit too much clutter at times, making it occasionally a little more frustrating than it needed to be. Nevertheless, I still found myself enjoying it, especially as it also included its own level creator so that you could create your own dioramas.

Unexpectedly, we now have a sequel dropping in 2024 and I’m curious to see whether or not it will actually improve on the solid foundations of its predecessor, or whether it will just be more of the same.

Many thanks to the publishers for the review code.

WHERE’S PARMENIDES?
As with its predecessor, Hidden Through Time 2‘s main focus is the single player campaign, this time focusing on four unique time periods for you to choose from. Your choice of preference will be up to you, but the general format is essentially the same regardless of choice. As a fan of Ancient Greek history, I opted for that one first as I was excited to see all the Greek architecture inhabited by Zeus and his fellow Gods.

The first level in each time period is pretty straightforward, presenting you with a very small diorama for you to explore, containing around half a dozen things or so for you to find. This could be people, instruments, animals, trees, or just random objects. Finding them tends to be tricky as the game will usually place them in places that make it hard to see with the naked eye. Possibly that person you need to find is standing behind a tree, or that object has a very similar colour scheme to its surroundings, or perhaps you need to use your x-ray vision to look inside buildings or containers to find what you need. They’re usually pretty well hidden, even in the earlier stages, but the game will provide a useful clue to help narrow your search down a bit. Unlike the original game, these clues are far less obtuse and make them a real asset to aid your hunt.

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And that’s not the only refinement either, as the smaller scale of the stages feels like a breath of fresh air when compared to the overwhelming scenes of the the first title. There’s still a decent amount of challenge available for hidden object enthusiasts, but it manages to achieve that result without being obnoxious; even the later stages are far less crowded in comparison to the ones in the original.

Which really sums up the game as a whole, in honesty. On a surface level, the game really isn’t all that different from its predecessor: it’s still largely the same experience, but just far better. Even the visuals, which are still largely the same, feel slightly more dynamic and cutesy than before. Perhaps its due to that aforementioned lack of clutter, but everything seems far nicer to look at too, There’s even a reality shifting mode that changes the time of day or whether of the diorama, which is a cute effect, even if it adds very little to the gameplay; even though only some objects can be found in certain ‘realities’, they’re clearly labelled making it essentially a non issue.

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The level creator still exists too, now known as Architect 2.0, and it still offers quite a range of objects for you to utilise when building your levels. It has a pretty minimal tutorial, but a lot of it is also pretty intuitive and doesn’t require all that much explanation either. It’s always fun to mess around with these modes, but it will no doubt only appeal to those creative types.

Finding user content is also pretty straightforward, even if the actual creations tend to be a little hit and miss (as is the case with most user-created content!). There are some that are simple and clean, but many are messy and obtuse. Finding stages of high quality are usually hard to find, but I’m still happy that you can share and create your own levels regardless. 

VERDICT
Hidden Through Time 2: Myths & Magic isn’t a massive shift from the first game, instead opting to refine and improve on an existing formula, but this makes the game far more enjoyable as a result. Whilst it probably won’t appeal to many people who aren’t interested in hidden object hunting, it’s still a choice for those who are.