148Apps Network Post
Developer: Magmic Inc
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Want to know why Mankind hasn’t mastered space travel yet? Well, if more advanced alien races can’t manage it then how could we expect to? I mean come on; one slip of the hand (or flipper or whatever) and the airlock pops open, scattering cargo and crew alike all over space. Of course losing it all was the easy part. Even with all those alien whatchahoosits the task of relocating everything falls to plain old human observational skills. Which is a fancy way of saying that Hidden Galaxies: The Voyage Home is one of those “find the hidden object games.” And it’s legitimately interesting to boot!

So some interstellar starfish screws up and all manner of personnel and possessions get scattered to the infinite blackness. This results in several stages featuring a rather large jumble of objects and increasing levels of difficulty. A pop-up tray on the bottom of the screen shows which objects and/or crewmembers need to be found before the stage is complete, and tapping the required thingamabob removes it both from the collective mass and the checklist. But things can be a bit more devious than that. Dragging a finger across the screen will actually “shift” the 2D perspective and allow a visual line to previously hidden items, or at least parts of them.

One of the most immediate aspects that Hidden Galaxies has working in its favor are the visuals. In essence, each stage looks like a mass of graffiti tags. Eepmon’s work is colorful and vibrant, and that’s even before all the mind-bending perspective shifting comes into play. It’s near impossible to tell from the stills (lucky for that video at the bottom there, huh?), but it’s a pretty cool effect that’s both eye-catching and functional as it makes digging for the more elusive stuff much more feasible.

But as cool as it all looks, once it’s over it’s over. Levels are ranked by time taken and errors made, but the layouts never change so it’s possible to more-or-less memorize a given stage in a few attempts, then knock it out super fast and accurate. Sure it makes obtaining three star rankings less stressful, but it also allows players to force their way through any challenge by sheer stubbornness.

Although it’s not incredibly challenging to players with decent memories, Hidden Galaxies is still a surprisingly cool hidden object game. It’s got some fantastic visuals, clever effects, and a very mellow pace that makes it a worthwhile form of relaxation and entertainment. I still think someone needs to demote that ship’s captain, though.


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