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Spotlight: Hidden Folks is the most joyous game on iOS right now

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Developer: Adriaan de JonghDownload: iOS
Category: GamesPrice: $3.99

It's not every day you see a new video game come out and immediately challenge everyday conventions with such success as Hidden Folks has. Few would expect these words to be said in regards to a hidden object game, seeing as the genre has been stagnating for years, and yet here we are – Hidden Folks is, hands down, the best new iOS game you can get right now.

Mind you, we're not talking about some new and unseen pinnacle of gameplay, but still, the game does what it does extremely well, and is a pure joy to experience as a result. It plays like a digital version of Where's Waldo?, meaning players are presented with a detailed landscape in which they need to find a number of hidden objects and people (or folks, if you will). The objectives are, more often than not, hidden behind something, and players need to tap one or more objects to reveal them. However, puzzles are never needlessly contrived, as the game isn't as focused on burying the player with riddles as it is with simply providing a fun, joyous experience.

This, of course, would not be possible if it weren't for the game's most unique feature: its sound effects. Where other games would use a large array of sounds for all the birds and trees and any other moving object, Hidden Folks is content with just one source of audio: its creator, Adriaan de Jongh's mouth. Whether it's the rustling of leaves or the shriek of an ape, every effect in the game was produced by a single man, giving the game an organic, living feel. This is complemented by the hand-drawn, children's book-type art style, which gives the detailed environments some breathing room, while never taking away legibility.

The game is controlled exclusively by tapping the screen, though each environment is zoomable and swipeable, letting the player see everything from up close (which is often necessary). A sepia and an inverted mode are included for people who want to reduce eye strain or battery drain. Right now, Hidden Folks includes more than 15 levels, though the developers have promised additional content to come in the future.

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