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Hidden Cats in London Review

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We’ve had A Building Full of Cats and A Castle Full of Cats, now we have Hidden Cats in London. It has all the hallmarks of an invasion. Just watch: the next game will be Hidden Cats in Europe, and then it will be too late to stop. We’re doomed. 

These hidden cat games are clearly working for Silesia Games, as they’ve roped in a second studio to help make them. Nukearts Studio have joined Devcats Games in producing them. We can probably expect them more frequently from here on out. 

That’s absolutely fine with us. Much like the ‘X Full of Cats’ series, Hidden Cats in London is both cheap (£2.49 is no price for a game: Silesia should really be charging more for this) and adorably distracting for an hour or two. If the future of hidden object games is moving away from the traditional Artifex Mundi-published games and towards these cheap, cat-based puzzles then we’re all for it. 

hidden cats in london review 1
Colouring in the cat-filled London town

If you’ve played the ‘X Full of Cats’ series, then there are a few subtle differences here. The art looks much the same, and the cats themselves feel like they’ve been copy-pasted from the other series (in a good way), but the way you hunt for them – and how they react when you do find them – is distinct.

The first big change is that Hidden Cats in London is really one big hidden object scene rather than multiple. The asterisk is that you do unlock some bonus levels once that scene is finished, but they’re not the focus of the game. This is a sprawling, absolutely massive image, as if a Where’s Wally? book was unstapled, laid out on the floor, and then sellotaped together to become a single A2 poster. 

That creates a design headache for the developers. Finding cats in a single huge scene is great fun until you’re left with the last few. They could be anywhere, and suddenly you’re open to infuriation. Where is that last cat? 

Nukearts Studio’s answer is brilliant, and will no doubt creep, cat-like into the other hidden cat games. Once you find all of the cats in an area (a building, train station, Tower Bridge or London Eye), that area gets coloured in. There’s no space for doubt: if an area is coloured in, then you’ve exhausted it of felines. You can move on, safe in the knowledge that you’re done here. 

hidden cats in london review 2
Them damn cats get everywhere

That change, particularly considering the size of the picture, is diamond. There’s a danger that it will make these already easy games too easy in the future, but for Hidden Cats in London it’s perfect. It allows the artists to be complete pains in the arse, nestling cats into the most infeasible of spots. Little heads poke out of hedges, tiny cats look down from ceilings, and others say hi from people’s backpacks. But because they’re grey, you have a hint to where they are. 

Regardless, after an hour or two, the scene will be completely coloured in, which leaves Hidden Cats in London with a predicament. How can they keep a player in for that little bit longer? It’s got a few answers and most of them are well chosen. You can choose to play a ‘Hard Mode’ of the London scene, where the cats are randomised, special cats are introduced, and four civilians need to be clicked, too. 

The randomisation is top-drawer. The cats don’t feel like they’re shoved into any old place. They’re well hidden in sensible locations, much like they were in the non-randomised version. The special cats aren’t actually random, but there’s a satisfaction in spotting them, since they unlock some bonus levels. We take issue with one of the special cats, since it’s coloured brown when the point of the whole game is that colour = completion, but we’ll hand it a pass. 

The four civilians to find, though, are more meh. Since they’re not cats, you’re having to refer to the given images, like Most Wanted posters, so that you can spot them. But those images are too low-fidelity and small, which makes finding the humans difficult. Plus the people all seem to be in the same areas, probably because far-away characters are difficult to pick out. It’s just not handled quite as well and feels like an afterthought as a result. 

hidden cats in london review 3
Where could we be here?

Finish that mode, gaining all the resulting achievements, and then you’re onto the bonus episodes. If you were worried that Hidden Cats in London was going to be one single puzzle then suddenly everything becomes that more generous. Because there are six more scenes here, from libraries to recording studios, all with a subtle London inflection. These are very, very similar to the ones from Building and Castle Full of Cats, to the point where we wondered if they were deleted scenes. 

These scenes were welcome, as we think we would have been sitting here, at this point of the review, questioning the value of Hidden Cats in London (even at £2.49). They are more than enough to make value a non-issue. They abandon the rules of the London scene – there’s no colouring-in of the scene when you complete a bookcase or a desk, say – but it’s just nice to fall into the old routine of scanning the scene and resorting to hints, should we need.

Which is all to say that Hidden Cats in London is a must-purchase for cat fans and anyone who has enjoyed the previous games in the series. Others should perk their ears up too. It’s a highly recommended game for anyone who likes hidden object games or laid back experiences, especially if they have a two-pound coin in their pocket to spare. If you find yourself anywhere on that Venn diagram, then act without fear: Hidden Cats in London is about the safest purchase you could ever make.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • £2.49!
  • Precise and adorable hidden object scenes
  • Adds plenty of usability features
  • Bonus scenes bulk out the offering
Cons:
  • Some issues with special cats and city folk
  • Bonus scenes revert to old usability features
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, TXH
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One (review)
  • Release date and price - 18 October 2023 | £2.49
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>£2.49!</li> <li>Precise and adorable hidden object scenes</li> <li>Adds plenty of usability features</li> <li>Bonus scenes bulk out the offering</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Some issues with special cats and city folk</li> <li>Bonus scenes revert to old usability features</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, TXH</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One (review) <li>Release date and price - 18 October 2023 | £2.49</li> </ul>Hidden Cats in London Review
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