For a year that's looking especially grim, we could all use a good laugh (or ten). For that, you should look no further than a bizarre iPhone game called Hidden my game by mom! 2. That's the real name of the game—I swear I'm not making it up! And though the name might be the result of some Japanese crudely translated into English, the game itself is deliberately, intentionally, and consistently hilarious. At the risk of hyperbole, I can't remember laughing at a game this hard in years.
The first game, Hidden my game by mom - escape room, apparently came out last August, but it never crossed my radar. (And, yes, there's a reason I'm not capitalizing the name; it's listed like that on various storefronts!) That's probably a good reason for that: a user who reviewed the game said he found it "on a list of weird iphone apps, but I was really happy by the results." He's not wrong.
I mean, read the official description for this game:
My mom had to hide my game.
In the closet? On the bookshelf? Under the sofa?
Where is my game?
Most of us can probably relate; my parents used to hide my game controllers and consoles as punishment. In the Hidden my game by mom series, a child grapples with his mother hiding a Nintendo DS somewhere in the house. It's unclear what the kid did to deserve this—if he was like me, it was not doing his homework for social studies because history is boring, mom!!!—but like a kid searching for presents on Christmas Eve, that's not going to stop him from finding that DS.
The mechanics are dead simple. Your DS is hidden somewhere in two rooms, but finding it requires players to jump through increasingly odd hoops. The first level, for example, has the DS squirreled away in a drawer. The fifth level has four soccer players (!) guarding a cabinet, with a soccer ball conveniently located in the other room. If you touch the soccer ball, though, your mom runs in and throws a red card—game over. Instead, you need to open the window curtains, pick up a nearby fly, and use that to distract the soccer players from blocking you. It only gets more outrageous from there, but saying anything more would spoil the game's surprises.
It's best to see the game working in motion, though it'll spoil some of the puzzles. (Thankfully, failing in the game produces little jokes that are often more funny than actually solving them.)
Above: Hidden my game by mom 2! Gameplay
It's not just the puzzles; presentation is key to making Hidden my game by mom work as well as it does. The one-frame animations, the cardboard cutout graphics, the perfectly timed sound effects—it all works in concert. The game presents itself as a cheap rip-off, the kind of garbage you find at the bottom of the App Store, and brilliantly uses those expectations against you. It's too bad that's probably working against it, too, with people brushing it off as mobile nonsense.
Both games are free, though you're forced to deal with obnoxious advertisements that take up precious space at the top and, after failing a number of times, ads that take up the entire screen for a painful five seconds. I'd happily pay the developers a few dollars to never see them again but you can't. It's all worth it, though.
It's tough to read the news without feeling anxious, making quality distractions more desirable than ever. It's better when they're this clever, too. You could do much worse than to spend a few minutes with Hidden my game by mom each day. Hell, I know I'm going to. And since mobile stores are a pain, here are direct links:
- Hidden my game by mom (iOS)
- Hidden my game by mom (Android)
- Hidden my game by mom! 2 (iOS)
- Hidden my game by mom! 2 (Android)
Oh! If you have recommendations for other weird oddities like this, hit me up!