If you ever liked Where’s Waldo? as a kid, but haven’t yet explored the hidden objects genre of video games, you’re missing out. Imagine if your Waldo books could’ve come alive, with sounds and animations, and if you could’ve peeked behind bushes or opened doors to see if that sneaky world traveller was hanging out in someone’s house having a cup of tea the whole time you were looking for him. We’ve checked out a few of these type of games before and largely had a great time with the hunt, so I was excited for Wind Peaks, a hidden object game set at summer camp that follows a troop of scouts having adventures and unravelling mysteries.
The scouts find a map that promises to guide them to a magical part of the forest, and thus embark on a journey of epic proportions told through ten individual levels of searching fun. Wind Peaks takes a lot of inspiration from Gravity Falls plotwise, and it makes the world intriguing and mysterious, especially given that the story is told entirely wordlessly.
One of my favorite things about Wind Peaks is how it incorporates the story into the gameplay. The objects you’ll be searching for all relate to the story, and in the end, once you’ve found them all, will play into the cut scene that tells the next snippet of story. There’s even special items that can be used within a search level to find special items, like a banana that lures a hiding monkey out of a tree, though some of the special items aren’t particularly well explained even in the animated tutorials given alongside them.
For the most part, gameplay in Wind Peaks consists of straightforward searching. If you get stuck, there’s a timer you can employ which will help lead you to the area one of the objects you’ve yet to find will be. I liked this feature because it doesn’t outright show you the object, it just helps you narrow down where to look for it, and for those times when you’re just scratching your head a little too long, it helps move you along. For the most part, searching is about as difficult as it should be, though I did have some small complaints about the inconsistent size of objects, and the way that Wind Peaks often likes to hide an object so that only a small portion of it is peeking out. The size issue just seems confusing. A radio you’re looking for might be in scale with the scouts, for example, while swim fins you’ll find in the forest look enormous enough for that same scout to take a dip in.
Other than straight up searching, there’s a few puzzle elements you’ll need to crack the code for. These are pretty straightforward and involve things like moving rocks into position or activating switches in the right order. There’s also bonus objectives you can find and pursue via Wind Peaks’ achievement list, which gives some replayability to the levels.
Artistically, Wind Peaks is charming, with charming hand drawn scenes and adorable characters. Cut scenes are great and tell the story well, and there’s amusing details around every corner. The soundtrack, meanwhile is serviceable. It doesn’t get in the way but it also doesn’t really stick with you.
Overall, Wind Peaks is a solid experience. There are hidden object games that do things more masterfully, but if you like to sit back and relax in an adorable world and hunt for clues to a larger mystery, you can’t really go wrong with Wind Peaks. On Nintendo Switch, it’s an even better fit with the ability to use touch controls and take your hunting on the go. Wind Peaks is a good time, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
Wind Peaks is available now on Nintendo Switch.
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