The 6 Best Hidden Object Games You Can Play Right Now

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

A puzzle piece underneath a rug

Andy Roberts / Getty Images

The hidden object game (HOG) is one of the most popular casual gaming genres. These games challenge your ability to concentrate and find objects that are hiding within elaborate scenes rather than test your reflexes. They can also feature equally elaborate stories in fictional genres ranging from detective-based to horror-themed, encouraging players to unravel larger mysteries.

Whether you're new to hidden object games or you're already an expert sleuth, here are some of the best titles currently available on PC, Mac, and mobile devices.

01
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Best Detective HOG: Enigmatis: The Shadow of Karkhala

Enigmatis for Android
What We Like
  • Concludes the story from the other Engmatis games.

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

  • 43 hand-drawn locations.

  • 25 mini games and puzzles.

What We Don't Like
  • Adult themes and language make this game inappropriate for younger players.

  • Difficulty spikes toward the end.

  • Some puzzles feel tedious and needlessly drawn out.

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 in an ancient monastery. The dark themes in this supernatural crime drama 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
What We Like
  • Beautiful artwork makes you feel immersed in the fantasy world.

  • Ability to zoom and pan the HD images on each level is helpful.

  • Fun Match-3 and memory mini games.

What We Don't Like
  • Constant advertisements interrupt the zen-like gameplay.

  • Getting rid of ads requires spending real-world money.

  • It lacks challenge.

Not to be confused with the 2018 horror film of the same name, Quiet Place is a HOG that focuses on tranquil gameplay and relaxation. The campaign mode features 200 fantastical levels that become more difficult as the game progresses, but you choose whether you want to race against the clock or go at your own pace.

03
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Best HOG for Kids: Messy Kitchen

Messy Kitchen for Android
What We Like
  • 100% free with no in-app purchases.

  • Suitable for ages 4 and up.

  • Three game modes alter how it's played.

What We Don't Like
  • Too easy for HOG veterans.

  • Lacks features like hints and zoom.

  • Too short.

If you can't get your kids to clean up after themselves, maybe this game can teach them that cleaning can be fun. Messy Kitchen is fairly simple and made for children ages 4 and up, but different gameplay modes add replay value to the levels. Even if it doesn't inspire cleanliness, it will at least keep the kids busy for a while.

04
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Best Sci-Fi HOG: Time Gap

Time Gap for Android
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.

05
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Best Traditional HOG: Deadly Puzzles: Toymaker

Deadly Puzzles: Toymaker for Android
What We Like
  • Offers an authentic, old-school HOG experience.

  • Beautiful, hand-painted locations.

  • Offers a free trial.

What We Don't Like
  • Story isn't as complex as some other games.

  • Back button is hard to reach.

  • Lacks challenge.

Deadly Puzzles: Toymaker is one of the best murder mystery hidden object games around. It tells a captivating crime story about a serial killer who targets young women and leaves a toy as a calling card. If you're new to the HOG genre, this game is a great entry point.

06
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Best Horror-Themed HOG: Dark Arcana: The Carnival

Dark Arcana: The Carnival for Android
What We Like
  • Features full voice acting in more than a dozen languages.

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

  • Cute helper monkey.

What We Don't Like
  • On the short side; HOG experts can complete it in just a couple of sittings.

  • Voice acting is average.

  • Animations are clunky.

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 the mood. Clearly inspired by the classic film Carnival of Souls, this game is highly recommended for fans of the horror genre.