AR Hide & Seek for Kids is the first Hide and Seek augmented reality app in the world according to its developer. When I first heard about this technology, I thought that a Hide & Seek game can be a great idea in AR.
Hide and Seek AR Game Designed for Kids
I’ve already got to play an augmented reality (AR) hide and seek game called AR Hide and Seek Virtual City. This game is quite similar to this game that I’m reviewing here which was developed by Applesin Apps AB. However, instead of searching small objects in a large virtual city map, the player is asked to locate 5 different animals hiding behind trees and rocks.
When I played it in the living room, the trees looked pretty large and the animals look very small. I’ve read that the size of the animal change relative to the scanned gameplay area. So the larger the gameplay area, the larger the animals are. This makes sense because it will be very hard to a kid to find an animal in a large place if it’s only like 5 cm tall.
You can definitely see that this hide and seek app is designed for kids (under 5 years of age according to the developer). It offers no challenge to an adult. When I played it I spotted the animals straight away. Obviously, a large area will provide a better experience. I have no doubt that kids will definitely love the experience. For kids it’s not about how difficult it is, but actually about the satisfaction of discovering the animals.
The other hide and seek iOS game that I’ve played AR Hide and Seek Virtual City was quite challanging because the object is hidden inside a very detailed map.
My Suggestions To Make this Game Better
I think that the level design in this game is far too simplistic. I have nothing against low-poly 3D models, they are actually great for this type of kid’s games, but there are no shadows, the characters look like flat papers with no animation (they just turn slightly around sometimes) and the experience feels uninspiring and lifeless.
I would create a 3D model for each animal (I can understand the art direction choice though). I would also create an animation when the animal sees that you find it, not just a short unexciting voice. I would even make it move a bit when it detects that the kid is close by. For example, if the zebra hides behind the tree, make it move slowly to the other side as the kid approaches it. you still give the kid an option to see it but it’s more exciting to catch it as it tries to hide from you, like in real life when kids are playing hide and seek. All that needs to be done is to create a path that the animal moves on it and animate it based on the player’s position.
I would also start the game with all the animals together in the center, appearing excited to start the game. After the screen gets blank, make running and laughing sounds hinting that they are currently searching for a hiding place. Two seconds before the game start let the animals say something like “We are ready, come and find us.” and the game starts.
I would also add a nice visual effect when the player finds the animals and add more items to the scene to make it more colorful and alive. Maybe birds flying around and some ambient sounds. Also, when the game is completed, there are some sounds of people clapping. Why not make something more splashy and happy. Give something more rewarding for kids, a better positive feedback once they are able to find all animals.
These are some of my suggestions that I think will make more fun to play. Of course, I am not an expert in the field of kid’s games but I am a kind in heart. My niece wasn’t here so I couldn’t show her the game, but once she comes I’ll surely will.
I love the concept of playing hide and seek in AR. I haven’t had a chance to play a hide and seek game that impressed me, for kids or not for kids. There many things that can be done to make this a more exciting and engaging game. It just fails to deliver in almost any category like visuals, animations, sounds, The level design is so dull and not interesting.
I have no idea why the developer has chosen to make it look the way it looks. The only reason I can think about is that it wanted to make it easier for the trees and rocks to blend with an outdoor environment. It certainly a game that I recommend to play outdoors, but still if you do that, make an indoor and outdoor option so we can also enjoy playing it indoors with better quality.
If you plan to take your kid to the nearby green park, I guess you and your kid will have some good time with this app. Furthermore, kids are smaller than I am and acknowledge it will be harder for them to locate the animals, especially when playing the game in a large area where the rocks and virtual trees are much larger.
As you can see, I wasn’t thrilled with the app and I sincerely believe that it could be so much better with a bit more features, more characteristic, better sounds, and more rewarding end-game. Still, I can see kids having fun with this game.