Publisher: Adam Spragg Games
Release Date: 11/18/2011
Also Available On
The Good: Unique concept, inexpensive, tons of fun, easy to learn but difficult to master, can be played by anyone, can get really hectic (in a good way)
The Bad: Ugly graphics, no single-player or online components, two mini-games are very similar, needs more game modes
Throughout the cluster of Minecraft-clones and crappy “games” (the quotations are there because these so-called games hardly resemble anything which is supposed to be fun and playable) in Xbox Live Indie Games there are a few gems. But even rarer than these gems are games which are completely unique and offer (fun) experiences you can’t find anywhere else. Hidden in Plain Sight is one of the few, if only, Xbox Live Indie game which represents that to its fullest potential. And if you’re on an Ouya, there aren’t too many other games to pick from anyways. PC gamers (or even non-gamers) with a bunch of controllers (and friends) should look into Hidden in Plain Sight as well.
The concept of Hidden in Plain Sight is novel and it’s surprising that no other games (except for Spy Party to some extent) have done it before. There are five different game modes (four in the trial) which I’ll list to you in my personal order of best to worst: Death Race, Ninja Party, Assassin, Catch a Thief, and Knights V.S. Ninjas. The basic idea of all these games is that you and your friend(s) are on a screen with a bunch of NPCs. Your goal is to try and blend in while completing some other objective.
In Death Race (the most original of the games) your goal is to make it to the finish line but you also have a gun with one bullet which you can use to kill whoever you suppose your opponent is. It can become complete hectic fun as you decide what’s more important: rushing to the finish line (and risking getting caught by your partners) or blending in with the NPCs but risking losing the race.
Then, there is Ninja Party. The goal is to touch five statues or find and kill your opponent(s) before the timer runs out and there is a twist: everyone (including the NPCs) looks like a ninja. Honestly, this mode is at its most fun when you turn statues off in the settings and crank the amount of Ninjas up to around a hundred. This mode is obviously based upon Spy Party (even the developer admitted that) but it’s extremely well executed and tons of fun.
Catch a Thief and Assassin are extremely similar games, which is kind of disappointing considering that there is only five “minigames”. In both games one (or more) players are the gunner and the rest are the thieves/assassins. You must try to discover who is stealing the coins/ killing the NPC’s based on auditory and visual clues. While they are a lot of fun, there are only a few minor differences between the two (other than their objectives). Knights V.S. Ninjas is the most boring of the games. Ninjas have the goal to kill the royalty whereas knights must stop them (hence the name). There is no need for stealth in this game and it is extremely unbalanced to whoever has played Hidden in Plain Sight more.
As you can tell from the screenshots, Hidden in Plain Sight is certainly not a graphical powerhouse. On one hand, this works to the games advantage as the graphics can used as a distraction but on the other hand the game is pretty ugly to look at. Bundled with the fact that there is only one location all of the games share (except for Death Race) and the fact that there isn’t a wide variety of NPC’s can make the game feel repetitive.
Unfortunately, Hidden in Plain Sight is only playable if you’ve got friends with you. The lack of singleplayer and online multiplayer modes is quite disappointing but this game is honestly made for couch co-op and wouldn’t be the same experience without it (and one of the greatest tactics in the game is listening to your friend’s controllers). Luckily, any friends will do. This game doesn’t require previous experience with any other video games (although it certainly helps) and my non-gamer friends had a blast with this. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed and smiled so much with my friends while playing a video game before.
Hidden in Plain Sight is a brilliant idea executed incredibly well. I only have two Xbox 360 controllers and this game almost convinced me to buy another two so I could play with three other friends instead of one. At one dollar this is a complete steal and if you are buying one of the Pay-What-You-Want versions then I’d recommend giving this game at least $5.