“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.” – David Attenborough
Under Leaves is an award-winning hidden object game set in a colourful and majestic animal kingdom. Players are taken on a journey around the world to discover new animals and search a variety of environments for the things they want!
Developer: Circus Atos
Released: 27th April 2017
Price: £1.79 – £11.69
Under Leaves consists of two world maps, 9 different locations and 29 animals that players can discover. Environments include the arctic, forests, jungle and the sea amongst others, as each one is visited a new animal is discovered and players will need to find a set number of a certain object that the animal wants. For example, the first area features a polar bear that needs 8 fish. These objects are placed randomly amongst a set of predefined positions meaning that each playthrough will be different. Each location is bigger than the screen and must be navigated in its entirety to find all the items.
Besides the numbers indicating how many of each object is required, the game is free of text. This, alongside the minimal and intuitive point-and-click controls and the family-friendly subject matter, mean this game is highly accessible. There is a slight difficulty curve but also a help system that appears after 40 seconds in each level and requires the player to solve a small sliding tile puzzle in order to reveal an object’s location.
Narrative and Styling
The narrative elements of Under Leaves are minimal but the player will visit each environment more than once and discover new animals there. After finding all the required items for each animal something in the scene will change, for example, flowers may bloom or the moon may start shining. This means that after a few trips to a location, it will have evolved and in this sense, the player gets a bit of a story. However, this also means that the areas are more full and finding things becomes trickier!
The game has a unique look with gorgeous hand-drawn artwork made up of 2D shapes with stunning watercolour textures and monochromatic colour palettes ranging from warm and vibrant to soft and cool. This gives the game a distinct aesthetic but also contributes to the challenge of the game as it is harder to spot objects against a background of a similar colour. The subtle but somewhat mesmerising animation also adds a bit of difficulty in terms of distraction or even temporarily hiding an item.
Under Leaves includes some soothing and immersive ambient sound effects to match each of the 9 types of environment. The delightful music also matches the player’s surroundings, for example, there are soft twinkling tunes in the arctic and gentle drum beats in the jungle.
Overall, the PC version of Under Leaves is a beautiful and relaxing experience that is great value for money. It will take around 2 hours to play and the random placement of items means it has some replayability. The visuals are undoubtedly a highlight and really bring the game to life but all the elements blend together well to create an original and satisfying hidden object title.
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