Top 8 Online Hidden Object Games (HOGs)

These titles are more fun than searching for a needle in a haystack

A puzzle piece underneath a rug

Andy Roberts/Getty Images

One of the most popular casual gaming genres is the hidden object game (HOG). Rather than testing your reflexes, these games challenge your ability to concentrate and find objects hiding within elaborate scenes. Such games sometimes feature equally elaborate stories that encourage players to unravel larger mysteries.

Whether you're new to hidden object games or you're already an expert in the genre, the best online hidden object games for PC, Mac, and mobile devices will keep you busy and entertained. They even come in multiple genres, ranging from Bible-based to horror-themed.

01
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Best Detective HOG: 'Enigmatis: The Shadow of Karkhala'

Enigmatis for Android

Robert Earl Wells III 

What We Like

  • 'The Shadow of Karkhala' concludes the story from the other 'Engmatis' games.

  • Action elements and quick time events add variety to gameplay.

What We Don't Like

  • Adult themes and language makes this game inappropriate for younger players.

The third and final entry in the "Enigmatis" series takes players to the mountains of Tibet where they must track down a demonic preacher hiding out in an ancient monastery. This supernatural crime drama's dark themes are augmented by surprisingly bright scenes that look like they belong in an art gallery.

02
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Most Relaxing HOG: 'Quiet Place'

Quiet Place for Android

Robert Earl Wells III 

What We Like

  • Beautiful artwork of unicorns and other mythical creature makes you feel immersed in the fantasy world.

What We Don't Like

  • Constant advertisements interrupt the zen-like gameplay, but you can spend real-world money to bypass the ads.

Not to be confused with the horror film of the same name, "Quiet Place" provides a way to relax after a long day's work. Campaign mode features 200 fantastical levels that become more difficult as the game progresses, but you can choose whether you want to race against the clock or go at your own pace.

03
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Best Bible-Based HOG: 'Noah'

Noah for Android

Robert Earl Wells III

What We Like

  • An array of mini-games mixes up the gameplay to keep things interesting.

What We Don't Like

  • The game probably won't teach you anything about the Bible you didn't already know.

"Noah" is a game of biblical proportions. It's based on the story from Genesis in which God tells Noah to gather two of every animal in the world and put them on an ark to save them all from a catastrophic flood. Children will enjoy the simple concept and gameplay, but there's enough challenge to engage older players as well.

04
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Best HOG For Kids: 'Messy Kitchen'

Messy Kitchen for Android

Robert Earl Wells III 

What We Like

  • The game is 100 percent free, so you don't have to worry about kids making in-app purchases.

What We Don't Like

  • "Messy Kitchen" might be too easy for HOG veterans.

If you can't get your kids to clean up after themselves, give them this app to teach them that cleaning can be fun. "Messy Kitchen" is a fairly simple game made for all ages, but different gameplay modes add replay value to the levels. Even if it doesn't inspire cleanliness, it will at least keep the kids quiet for a while.

05
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Best Disney HOG: 'Zootopia Crime Files'

Zootopia Crime Files for Android

Robert Earl Wells III

What We Like

  • Features familiar characters and locations from the movie.

  • A well-written story and clever dialogue make this HOG enjoyable for kids and adults.

What We Don't Like

  • While the Kindle Fire version is completely free, the PC version requires players to either pay or wait a few hours to progress.

Speaking of games for children, "Zootopia Crime Files" is based on Disney's kid-friendly cop drama. Join bunny cop Lt. Judy Hopps and her foxy sidekick Nick Wilde as they travel around the city of Zootopia collecting clues and unraveling mysteries. In addition to finding clues, you'll have to interview suspects and use your wits to crack the case.

06
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Best Sci-Fi HOG: 'Time Gap'

screenshot of Time Gap for Android

Robert Earl Wells II

What We Like

  • Learn about historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein.

  • Discover secret areas to unlock new levels.

What We Don't Like

  • The main campaign is a little too easy.

"Time Gap" is an educational game that doesn't feel educational. In addition to an engaging plot about time travel, the game comes with an abundance of mini-games, including over 100 bubble shooter levels. You can even compete against other players in real-time tournaments.

07
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Best Traditional HOG: 'Deadly Puzzles: Toymaker'

screenshot of Deadly Puzzles: Toymaker for Android

Robert Earl Wells III 

What We Like

  • "Deadly Puzzles" offers an authentic, old-school HOG experience.

What We Don't Like

  • The story, while well written, isn't as complex as some other games.

It seems like the majority of hidden object games are about murder mysteries, and "Deadly Puzzles: Toymaker" certainly fits that mold. That said, it's one of the best. There are no mini-games or action sequences in "Deadly Puzzles," but that's not a complaint. If you're new to the HOG genre, this game is a great entry point.

08
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Best Horror-Themed HOG: 'Dark Arcana: The Carnival'

Screenshot of Dark Arcana: The Carnival for Android

Robert Earl Wells II

What We Like

  • The game features full voice acting in more than a dozen languages.

  • Multiple difficulty settings allow you to test yourself or just enjoy the story.

What We Don't Like

  • The game is on the short side, so HOG experts can complete it in just a couple of sittings.

With an aesthetic that teeters between inviting and terrifying, "Dark Arcana: The Carnival" lives up to its name as you descend deeper into its twisted story. Fortunately, there are 28 mini-games to lighten things up. Clearly inspired by the classic film "Carnival of Souls," this game is highly recommended for fans of the horror genre.