Hide and Seek – without the Seek.

Title: Hiding Spot
Platform: PC (reviewed)
Developer: Corey Martin
Publisher: Corey Martin
Release date: Out now
Price: PC: £1.70/$2
TL;DR: A difficult puzzle game with unique physics.
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We’ve all been in uncomfortable situations, whether it’s a presentation at work or some random social gathering that makes you feel ill at ease. And though we generally deal with those situations like the sensible adults that we are (heh), your inner child is never far away, popping up to urge you to just hide and hope it all goes away.

Of course, life generally doesn’t work that way – luckily though, we’re not talking about life.

Hiding Spot – a puzzle game that positively encourages your childish, ostrich-like tendencies – is the latest offering from Corey Martin, the developer behind Pipe Push Paradise. The game takes place inside a nondescript building with a total of ten floors. The game uses voxel art and each room – which act as the game’s puzzles – is based on a grid system (similar to Minecraft). It’s your job to solve the puzzles on each floor by moving objects around and manipulating them into a position which will enclose your character completely, thus giving you a hiding place.

One of the first things you’ll notice when you start the game is there is no mouse – everything is controlled with your keyboard. The WASD keys move your character around, though even this feels a bit wonky because the top-down view gives the rooms a funny angle so your directional keys are slightly off and take some getting used to. You can crouch with the “C” key and the spacebar is used to grab objects to pull them towards you, which you can do from either a standing or crouched position. And if you make a mistake, you can reset the current room by pressing the “R” key.

The first-floor puzzles are simple, starting you off with a single box (or boxes) that can be dragged or pushed around other, unmoveable fixtures. Completing the first few puzzles gives you a feel for the controls and the game’s unique physics. You can’t just rotate your character on the spot to face a particular direction – your character will move a short distance, whenever you change their facing, no matter how lightly you tap the directional key. So if you’ve lined everything up how you want it and just need to grab that box of files next to you and pull it closer, it will first be pushed in the direction you want to face before it can be pulled back, that is, unless it’s braced from the other side against something that can’t move.

While I found this frustrating at first, it does add an extra potential complication when you’re considering how you’ll go about solving the puzzle, often making something that seems straightforward, actually a lot more tricky.

As you progress up through the floors, new objects will be added, increasing the difficulty of the puzzles. A chest of drawers, for example, allows you to open one or both of its drawers, giving you a potential overhead cover when crouched, or a support to move a raised object from one surface to another. Chairs will give you different heights to work with, while the small tables will do their best to annoy you by moving on to their side or upside down if you try to manoeuvre them in certain ways.

There’s no restriction in which order you do the puzzles either. While it makes sense to complete the first floor to get a feel for the game, you don’t actually need to solve puzzles on one floor to unlock the next. So, if like me, you find yourself really struggling, you can take a deep breath and try out something else. This probably stopped me from turning the game off a few times in sheer frustration.

Hiding Spot certainly lives up to its name of being a difficult puzzler. If you’re looking for a game that will make your head hurt just by looking at it or if you’re looking for ideas about staying out of sight at work, then this may well be the game for you.

The Good

  • Simple controls.
  • You can move freely between puzzles.
  • Challenging puzzles.

The Bad

  • Can be frustrating.

Family Focus

Rated: Not yet Rated; Suitable for all ages, though the puzzles will be too complex for younger children.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.