By – Sophie Jones

Hidden on the Trail of the Ancients Review He

It’s fair to say I am a huge point and click fan. I love exploring beautifully crafted set pieces for clues and staring at puzzles for hours scratching my head. Luckily for me Hidden on the Trail of the Ancients ticked both boxes adequately. I have to admit as the opening sequence began I had no idea who I was, where I was or what an Earth I was meant to be doing. It was a rather discombobulating start but as I pulled on the thread a spooky story quickly unraveled.

You begin your journey in a hotel room scattered with books and documents. Archaeologist Thomas Farell is on the hunt for the Ancients and has tracked down one guy, Scopelli, who might know the truth. Unfortunately, for us Scorpelli has met an untimely fate and his room is locked tight. In true point and click fashion it is up to us to pick up all we can from a shabby boarding house in order to deduce a way inside. This is where I came across the first NPC Petrov, he seemed like a nice fellow, in fact I almost felt sorry for him as he told us about his life but there was just something awry with his character model.

The voice acting of all of the cast was on point, they conveyed emotion without over doing it. Nonetheless, there were a few details which could have been executed better. For instance, Petrov’s facial animation is hilarious. His mouth moves constantly even when he isn’t speaking and, well, it’s hard to explain in words but conversing with him definitely kicks the eerie atmosphere. Also, Thomas’s voice acting was captivating but oddly he didn’t read out all the documents you picked up, he only read out some, this was slightly frustrating as it caused a disconnect in the games rhythm. It was only a minor flaw but I hope in the next installment Thomas doesn’t shy away from a bit of light reading.

Hidden on the Trail of the Ancients Review He

After bracing Petrov and his strange face the puzzle solving began. I ran around the environments picking up all I could. It played like a typical point and click adventure. You had to click the direction you wished to go in and when you got there you could then select objects to interact with in that sector. The only issue I had was with the gameplay’s slightly frantic movements. When exiting the inspection screen the pointer would go wild and move super-fast. This was rather nauseating. Even altering the mouse sensitivity didn’t help.

Furthermore, sometimes I couldn’t interact with certain articles which made me think they were not important, but, when moving a few feet ahead these then became available for interaction. This led to a few grievances as I couldn’t find some items. It also made no sense why a few steps forward altered what I could pick up. But that’s game logic for you. You can also keep track of goals via viewing a notebook. Every time an objective is complete it is crossed of the list. So if you decide to take a break you won’t forget what you were doing.

The story is incredibly rich, if you read all the documents you can find out a lot about the games lore and it can be quite enthralling. The puzzles also fit nicely into the narrative, they aren’t just randomly thrown in, and everything seems to flow perfectly. Sometimes they can be awfully difficult, there were a few that had me back tracking for a long while as I madly clicked on everything hoping to find the missing item. The games hint system wasn’t too helpful either in these instances. It obscurely points you in a direction and suggests possible items you need but only after a lot of clicks does it finally give you a straight up answer. After using a hint there is also timer before you can use it again. As I don’t wish to spoil the story I won’t delve much further into the details as I wouldn’t want to ruin the game’s best feature.

Hidden on the Trail of the Ancients Review He

Hidden’s visuals are nothing to brag about but they do the job. In the forest area (the place you traverse after the hotel) the textures can look a little murky but generally they are pleasant enough to view and help convey the games ominous tone. There’ll be plenty of moments where you will find yourself blindly clicking in the dark as the forest, in particular, is exceptionally gloomy, but luckily, this can be fixed by simply altering your brightness settings. The soundtrack provides eerie undertones and loud sound effects which at times can lull you to sleep or become infuriating, as you trek around for half an hour listening to a loud clock ticking. But overall the aesthetics complimented the experience.

Technically, there were few drawbacks. As I play on a laptop with Windows 10 installed, I did run into a crash. After progressing so far in the game I would get a run time error and in the process all my saved data would be deleted. This was exceptionally exasperating. I would have most likely given up on the game entirely if I didn’t need to review it. I’m happy I was forced to continue though as the game was an interesting adventure. So if you’re playing on a Windows 10 system just make sure to run it in compatibility mode.

This brings me on to my final point. So far it might seem like I didn’t enjoy Hidden which is not true. The story was exciting and for the most part the gameplay was too. They really managed to capture the unnerving element effortlessly. But for me this voyage was over too quickly. Just as I had become invested in the game and the story had taken-off, I was left watching the credits. Thankfully, there is a confirmed sequel so I know my questions will get answered at some point. But I was still disappointed as I wanted to see it through and not just feel like I had read the cliff notes.

Hidden on the Trail of the Ancients Review He

Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?

I can’t deny that this game is well crafted. Voice acting is immersive and the creepy vibe resonates.  I did feel a little let down as the credits rolled. The adventure felt like it was cut short just when I started to feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise.  Despite its short comings, I would still recommend this game to a point and click junkie who loves a good puzzle. Although you might have to prepare for Petrov’s facial animations, they are so bad, it’s hysterical to watch.

Hidden: On the Trail of the Ancients Technical Summary:

Hidden on the Trail of the Ancients Review He

  • Time Played – 4 Hours
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • Windowed Mode – Yes
  • Resolution Played – 1920×1080
  • DRM – Steam
  • System Specs – Intel i7-4720HQ@2.60 GHz, 8GB Ram, Geforce GTX 980m
  • Control Scheme – KB/M
  • Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
  • Availability – Steam
  • Demo – No
  • Bugs/Crashes Encountered –  Runtime errors fixed by running in Compatibility Mode (Win 10)

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