iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Disney Hidden Worlds, a free-to-play and official release, takes players to the sky island of Inkspire, home to the Inklings, who craft Disney worlds out of magical ink. Each themed level represents a well-known Disney film. The game includes classics like Peter Pan and Beauty and the Beast, but also modern releases such as Tangled and Frozen.
As play starts, a mischievous ink villain has sabotaged the various kingdoms, threatening to alter their plots. To save them, players must work through each world, scene by scene, repairing missing pieces and righting the story.
Obviously, this set-up serves as an excuse to revisit familiar Disney favorites, which is always fun and nostalgic. However, it doesn’t feel gimmicky at all. Inkspire and the Inklings have a quirky style and personality unique to themselves. They fit well among the Disney characters and universes we already know, and I found myself genuinely interested in their story on its own. There’s also a particularly positive emphasis on creativity, art, and imagination that really shines.
Regarding gameplay, Disney Hidden Worlds is a hidden object game. It presents players with a still image taken straight from the film and a list of objects hidden throughout the scene. The player must find and tap these items, gaining bonus points for speed and accuracy.
It’s a test of observation that’s surprisingly varied and challenging. Players will find some objects in places that make sense but may be easily overlooked, like a bird’s nest in the trees, while they will also have to look carefully for other items hidden in just plain silly places, like a cheese wedge supporting the roof beams. To mix things up, particular scenes contain timed challenges that unlock bonus rounds.
When completing scenes, players collect bottles of ink and other materials used to repair pieces stolen from the story. Every piece requires specified materials and takes a certain amount of time to complete. Once finished, these can be used to unlock new scenes and advance the level.
Since these crafts require multiple ink bottles, players must replay scenes before it’s possible to obtain the items necessary to move on. To maintain a challenge, the list of hidden objects changes, even when the scene remains the same. Only the list changes, however. Objects remain fixed; previously listed items will be found in the exact same place as before. This quickly starts to feel tedious. Yet, at the same time, it becomes a great test of memory and helps strengthen recall skills.
As you’d expect from Disney, content is appropriate for children of all ages.
Since the game only requires tapping, controls are easy. However, there’s quite a bit of simple story text, so reading comprehension skills are a must.
Regarding difficulty, some objects are easy to find, while others purposefully blend into the environment and are actually quite hard to spot. This tests patience as much as observation. Luckily, there’s a hint button that will highlight any remaining objects. This keeps everything accessible for younger children, though I admit that even I needed a hint now and then. Since an object’s location within a scene never changes, the challenge becomes more about memory once it’s been found.
Disney Hidden Worlds creates a new adventure out of the joy of revisiting classic Disney tales. The game appeals to Disney fans and provides a fun alternative to watching that DVD “just one more time.”