If you are a child of the 80′s, then you probably remember who Waldo is (or Wally if you aren’t from the US or Canada). ’Where’s Waldo?’ was a series of hidden object-esque books created by Martin Handford in the late 80′s/early 90′s and are still being created to this day. Still to this day, i’m obsessed.
I have always loved hidden object books and games. Judging from the picture (above), my parents didn’t seem to mind that I had a thing for the series and allowed me to adorn my bedroom with all things Waldo. For my birthday, my sister had a high school friend of hers come over and paint Waldo on my wall. You cannot imagine how excited I was when I saw it.
I had all of the books, posters, dolls, blankets, everything you could think of that was Waldo themed. I can’t even believe that he was ever so popular that they made a Waldo comforter set, but my mom found it.
As a kid I always did puzzles, workbooks, mind teasers, anything that got my wheels spinning and gave me a sense of accomplishment (hence why I love video games). Obviously once I heard there was an iOS version of Where’s Waldo, I immediately jumped over to the App Store and bought it.
I should mention that this app has been out since 2011. Somehow I had no idea but i’m glad I found it now. In a sea of Big Fish hidden object apps (i’ve played them all), I never came across the original and best hidden object game ever created.
So as I eagerly waited for the app to download, I put on my reading glasses (i’m old) and snuggled up on the couch for some Where’s Waldo action. Simple enough from the get go, you can choose between two difficulties: Kids or Normal. ”Pssshh” I thought, “I’m a friggin Waldo master”. Normal was obviously the route I took.
The game plays out similar to the books. You are greeted by Wizard Whitebeard who narrates a fun little story about Waldo’s travels and explains the know-how of the game during each of the 12 worlds. I immediately noticed that the “world’s” were identical to those in the original Where’s Waldo book. Surprisingly, that was exactly what I wanted. I remembered few things about each but memories flooded back as I continued on my way.
If you aren’t familiar with a Waldo book, they are essentially a brilliantly illustrated clutter of people, animals and objects. You are tasked with finding Waldo in the “scene” but it never ends there. There are scrolls, woof tails, bones, Waldo watchers, friends and random items to find as well. The back pages of these books had checklists of additional items to find and I found them all. There is humor found around every inch of the books and even if you looked at them a dozen times you would still find something new the next time you took a look. Martin Handford is a genius and nobody has come close to creating the imaginative worlds that he created (Richard Scarry comes in a distant second).
The game is no different than the books. You enter a scene and are given the task to find Waldo, Wizard Whitebeard, Wenda and Odlaw (the evil Waldo doppleganger who’s name is literally Waldo spelled backwards). Once found you are then given about 2 dozen or so other people/items/things to find. In the Normal mode these are either listed as shadows of the item or words describing the item. In some cases the pictures are shown. To finish a scene you had to find the traditional scroll that Waldo fans are all too familiar with (it’s tiny and extremely difficult to find).
Waldo and the gang were easy to spot but the additional search items were quite a challenge. In Normal Mode you are timed and have to solve each section with at least 3 stars remaining on the countdown bar. This turned out to be much more difficult than I thought it would be. I had to repeat several scenes. The good thing about having to repeat a scene though is that the change slightly, some are the same but some are new. They change enough to not make it seem monotonous though.
Throughout the 12 world’s you are occasionally brought back into a scene to do a couple of mini-searches. Woof (Waldo’s dog) asks you to do a “Spot the Differences” type search. These were pretty easy but some were extremely difficult. Wenda also has a mini-search where you have to find pictures that she took with her camera. Typically these were zoomed in close ups of someone’s head and were quite challenging. Again, both were a nice break from the regular search and added some extra fun to the game.
Another little quirk is when Odlaw appears. Waldo’s arch-nemisis who is only there to cause trouble. If you found him fast enough, he didn’t have a chance to mess anything up but you better find him quick because they give you about 5 seconds. If you don’t catch him, Odlaw messes up the screen so you lose some valuable time and progress.
I don’t want to give anything away at the end, but it’s a doozy and I struggled with it. Luckily throughout the game you can locate tiny dog bones that give you the chance to use a Woof “Hint”. When used, the curser turns “hot (red) or “cold (blue)” while moving around the scene until you locate your item or person. I found myself using this a few times throughout my gameplay.
Overall the game took me about 5 hours to complete and that is well worth the $1.99 I paid for it. For anyone who isn’t familiar with hidden object games, it could last much longer. For Waldo fans, you will will absolutely love it. I found it both challenging and humorous. I should also mention that the voice work is fantastic and the music/sound effects are a delight. I did not have a single glitch from start to finish which if you are familiar with apps, you know are all too frequent.
As far as I can tell, the game is only available on the Mac iOS, which is unfortunate because everyone should get a chance to play this game. So go get it and then let me know what you think!
Happy hunting fellow Waldo Watchers!