Since the dawn of electronic handheld gaming, there has been conflict between mother and child. The mother wants chores or homework to be done, but there’s always “just one more level” or a high score just out of reach. At some point, the mother will resort to simply hiding the device in the hopes of boring the child into productivity. The child, of course, instead leverages their boredom into searching for their game. They inevitably find the device, and the cycle begins anew. Japanese developer hap Inc.’s free Hidden my game by mom (sic) series distills and translates this conflict into a delightfully absurd escape room puzzle game format.
The goal of a Hidden my game by mom level is to find your hidden game (that looks conspicuously like a Nintendo 3DS) without alerting your mom or, uh, dying. Game overs can come swift and unexpected, but luckily the levels are all bite-sized and the game overs are usually pretty funny, keeping frustration to a minimum. Each level is like a mini room escape game, set in similar-looking rooms built from a small library of objects.
The brilliance of the Hidden games lies in how they let you build a sense of familiarity with the various objects in the room, only to completely upend your expectations just when you think you know how it all works. It reminds me of a Roadrunner cartoon, both in the dogged hunt your character is making for his game, but also the cartoon “logic” the puzzles employ. It’s rare that a puzzle game will make me laugh or even smile at a solution, but these games had me laughing in almost every level. They’re really a delight to play.
A huge part of my enjoyment of the two Hidden games comes from the theme itself. It’s so… ordinary. And relatable! I mentioned the games over tea at Stately Manor, and Dave noted that he was currently hiding one of his children’s 3DS. [it’s in my closet under a sweater that last fit me in 1997 -ed.] It also provides a unique and compelling motive that this style of game usually lacks, beyond just “get out of the room”.
Both Hidden games are completely free (just a banner ad up top and an ad-supported hint system) on both iOS and Android and will each give you an hour or two’s worth of puzzles to solve. At that price, there’s no reason not to give them a spin, and they’re the perfect games to cozy up with on a cold winter’s evening. Just make sure you don’t have any chores or homework to do first.
- Hidden my game by mom – escape room for iOS Universal, Free
- Hidden my game by mom 2 – escape room for iOS Universal, Free
- Hidden my game by mom for Android, Free
- Hidden my game by mom 2 for Android, Free