“Perhaps the hardest part in finding your courage is remembering how you lost it in the first place. We do not suddenly become people who settle for the ordinary and the safe places. Such things happen to us in increments of time as we bargain away our questing selves for the promises of security.” – Cheryl Bridges Johns
Finding Hannah is a narrative-focused hidden object game focusing on Hannah as she navigates a mid-life crisis. The game was released into early access on 3rd May this year and there are three episodes currently available to play.
Developer: Fein Games
Released: 3rd May 2023
Price: Free with IAP – £5.89
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
Finding Hannah weaves gameplay and narrative by having the player complete hidden object sections in order to reveal part of a scene from the story. The game is divided into episodes which in turn, consist of a number of different scenes. Presented with a static image related to the current scene the player will need to find a set number of items listed three at a time with new clues replacing the ones that are found. The game may require the player the find different objects hinted at with either words or silhouettes or alternatively find a set number of the same item. It will cycle through these modes as the player progresses through each scene gradually revealing the story. This means that some familiarity with the image will occur before the player is done with it. Items sometimes move but appear to have only a few set locations so it is easy to get used to where things will be.
Each hidden object challenge within a scene will be scored, with bonuses for time and accuracy, completion will award a gold star. Each scene has a set number of stars that must be filled in order to progress to the next scene. This will usually be when the narrative elements of the scene are complete but can require further gameplay if hints are used to reveal answers; there are three hints available per hidden object section.
A further requirement for progression is green ticks which are collected in an entirely different section of the game. At the end of each hidden object task, the player is awarded a set of packs, either wellness, pies or coffee which will have a number of items within them. The better the score the more items will be in the packs. The items need to be unpacked into a grid where they can be combined to make new items, with the UI showing which combination of items is required, and when the player completes the combo, green ticks are awarded. Due to this mechanic, it is often necessary to keep playing the hidden object games within existing scenes in order to get enough packs to receive the required number of ticks. While this extends the gameplay, the lack of variation in scenes and objects can feel repetitive and often quite easy due to familiarity.
The titular protagonist, Hannah, is 39 years old with ‘terrific hair and a coffee addiction’. Having previously dreamt of being a performance artist, she is disillusioned with her job as a graphic designer. The game follows Hannah as she navigates this mid-life crisis and in doing so also explores the relationships she has with those around her, such as her best friend and ex, her mother and her grandmother. The narrative touches on some serious subject matter such as neglect, environmental issues, WWII, and the Holocaust but handles them sensitively and does not bring them to the forefront of the story.
Finding Hannah has a simple, slightly blocky, 2D art style that uses vibrant colours and lots of texture. There is a nice level of detail within the artwork but the visuals remain clear enough for the hidden object sections to remain satisfying and uncluttered. The music ranges from lively and upbeat, to mellow dance music, lo-fi tracks and jazzy numbers, all emotive and fitting the tone of the individual scenes, increasing the sense of immersion alongside nicely implemented ambient sound effects.
Finding Hannah is a fun and unusual offering that certainly piques interest in terms of the narrative, with its relatable protagonist and fascinating but flawed side characters. While the gameplay does get a little repetitive in places, both the hidden object and item combo modes are fun and gratifying ways to progress the story adding a nice level of interaction and challenge. The aesthetics stand out with unique stylised visuals and a strong, varied soundtrack. Overall, this early-access version of the game got me intrigued and I will eagerly await updates and future content. I’d recommend Finding Hannah to anyone that enjoys casual narrative-focused experiences and hidden object games.
If you enjoy hidden object games you might also like these reviews:
Hidden Through Time – Cute Historical Hidden Object Game – Wind Peaks – Hidden Object Game Review! – A Castle Full of Cats – Can You Find the Cursed Felines?