under leaves

Sometimes, less is more. When it comes to hidden object games, it’s hard to find one that focuses solely on the hide-and-seeking, rather than overblown tales of necromancers stealing your second-cousin for a blood ritual. Rarer still is a hidden object game that can be played with all of the family, stripped back to pretty pictures and things to find within them. Onto the stage comes Under Leaves, which launches today on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S to join previous releases on Nintendo Switch and PC.

Under Leaves is charming. It’s like an illustrated children’s book come to life, with watercolour visuals and animated creatures poking their heads out of lightly swaying trees. Your task is incredibly simple: each scene introduces an animal, and that animal has a favourite food. They will want anywhere from five to twelve of their chosen oysters, nuts, twigs or snails, and they are strewn about the environment. It’s harder to find them than it sounds, as they are lightly camouflaged into the background, so there will be a fair amount of cursor-scanning.

Get stuck and there’s a handy hint feature, requiring you to do a simple sliding puzzle in return for the location of the foodstuff (which will be off putting enough to keep most people looking themselves). Find them all, achievements pop, and the scene evolves, adding a flourish of mushrooms or some swooping fireflies. It’s all rather cute. 

There are 29 puzzles in total, as the Xbox version comes with the base game, launched on other systems, plus an extra nine levels. These will take you to various continents of the world, from the Arctic to the Atlantic Ocean, to European temperate forests. There’s a lightweight educational touch to the game, as the achievements are named after the Latin names of the creatures, plus you learn what foods they tend to eat. 

Features include:

  • The best way to rest – Relaxing music, amazing scenery, peaceful gameplay—all this will make you slow down. Let your thoughts flow freely as you collect items for your next animal.
  • Beautiful graphics – Hand-painted backgrounds delight with their detail and colors. Practically every frame looks literally like a picture ready to hang on the wall.
  • Visit the entire world – On your journey you’ll find yourself in the land of ice, stop in the sultry jungle or dive under the water. 9 locations scattered around the world are waiting for you.
  • Meet its animal inhabitants – All nature lovers will be charmed by 29 animated animals from all over the world. A polar bear, a big-eyed owl, a turtle or a parrot—they need a bit of your help.
  • Available for everyone – Controls are very simple, and there is no text in the game—only numbers—so everyone can enjoy it.

And that’s it! Under Leaves is slight, but we found it adorable, as can be seen in our review. If you go in expecting depth or intricacy then you’ll be disappointed, but if you want to go searching for animals with a family in tow, with nary a blocker in sight, then this is the game for you. 

Under Leaves is out now on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S and comes to £10.74 from the Xbox Store, with a reduction to £8.74 as a launch bonus. It’s also out on Nintendo Switch and PC through Steam

Game Description:

Relax, looking for hidden objects in a gorgeous, hand-painted scenery. Under Leaves will take you on a journey around the world where you’ll discover charming animals and beautiful landscapes.

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