Growing up in the late 1980s and 1990s I was a pretty big fan of the Where’s Waldo? franchise. Basically the premise behind the franchise was that you had to find specific characters hidden among a bunch of other characters and objects that were only there to distract you. I have always enjoyed this hidden object premise. In the past I have looked at a few video games that utilize this premise including Hidden Folks and Hidden Through Time. I enjoyed both of these quite a bit as they felt like interactive Where’s Waldo? games. Today I am looking at another game that I hoped would fit nicely into this little genre. NYAF is an interesting take on the hidden object genre which can be kind of fun even if it gets repetitive a little too quickly.
NYAF at its core is a hidden object game. The game is broken up into a number of levels featuring different background images. Hidden in each level is around 100 different characters trying to blend into the background. The objective is to try and find all of the characters hidden on each screen. This unlocks the next background where you need to find more characters.
I would like to begin by saying that NYAF is not exactly like your typical hidden object game. In most of these types of games you are either given a list or a set of pictures which show the objects/characters that you are looking for. You are then tasked with finding those objects/characters hidden in the background. Things are a little different in NYAF. Instead of being given a list of objects/characters that you need to find, you mostly just analyze the pictures trying to find which characters are out of place/overlapping other parts of the picture. Your objective is to find all of these out of place elements. The game gives you the ability to make these characters semi-transparent so they stick out more, or for more of a challenge you can disable this option.
Generally speaking I would have preferred having a list of things that I was looking for as that would have been more challenging in my opinion. Despite this I still thought finding the misplaced characters was pretty enjoyable. What is interesting about how NYAF is played is that you will regularly find new characters to click on. At times you will find quite a few characters within just a couple of seconds. This is kind of exciting as you can knock a lot of characters off the list in a short period of time. Those that like finding hidden objects will likely enjoy finding the hidden characters in the game.
As for the game’s difficulty I will say that it somewhat depends. The game actually has quite a few different difficulties to choose from. The different difficulties seem to impact the game in two major ways. Higher difficulties give you more characters that you need to find and the characters can be much smaller. These two factors make the game a little more difficult, but I still found the game to be pretty easy to play. The harder difficulties will just make it take longer to finish a level. The main reason that I found the game to be kind of easy was just that many of the characters are easy to spot which allows you to eliminate most of them pretty quickly especially if you take your time analyzing the picture. If you have trouble finding the last couple of characters the game is also helpful in giving you arrows that point in the direction of the remaining characters. You can also buy helper characters which help you find the remaining characters in the picture.
While I can definitely see players having differing opinions on the game’s theme and artstyle, I thought it was pretty good. The art in the game is based on paintings done by Sébastien Lesage. I thought the artwork had its own unique style and it works well for the game. The game’s background music is pretty good as well. Like the other hidden object games that I have reviewed here on Geeky Hobbies, the game also includes a lot of different sound effects. Each hidden character you click on will play a random sound clip. Some of these can be quite strange and others may make you laugh. I will say that some of them can become a little annoying after a while, but they also bring a sort of charm to the game.
So I had fun with NYAF, but it does have one pretty big flaw. The main problem that I had with the game is that it just gets repetitive pretty quickly. The main game features a couple different modes. I applaud having different modes, but none of them really add much to the actual gameplay. The main gameplay doesn’t really change all that much in the game. For example the second mode in the game has you finding a ton of different creatures between all of the different backgrounds. After you have found a designated number of characters on one background you are automatically taken to another background where you can search for more. The mode doesn’t end until you find a large number of characters between all of the backgrounds. Otherwise the gameplay is no different from the first mode. While the searching gameplay is kind of fun, it gets repetitive after a while.
Outside of the main game, NYAF includes a couple other mini games. The first is MMPG. This is basically a very minimalistic battle simulator. Basically your army of tiny pixels fight the other armies tiny pixels with the winner being the team that has units remaining at the end. The second mini game is YANYAF which is similar to the base game except that you are looking for tiny symbols inside a procedurally generated background. Finally the third mini game involves ringing a church bell over and over again in order to wake up the townspeople. I personally wasn’t a fan of any of the mini games as I didn’t feel like they added much to the experience.
As for the game’s length I can’t give you a definitive length. This is due to two factors. First I didn’t have enough interest in any of the mini games to play them for more than just a couple minutes. As for the main game I had to quit when I got to the third mode. I don’t know if this is due to a bug, but I just couldn’t keep playing the third mode as it was legitimately giving me a headache playing it. This is because the screen was rapidly shaking like I was playing the game in an earthquake. This made it almost impossible to find the hidden characters and was quickly giving me a headache. At this point I have played the game for a little less than two hours. There are about three more main modes that I haven’t played along with the mini games which should add some more time to the game.
I ultimately had some mixed feelings about NYAF. On the surface it shares a decent amount in common with your typical hidden object game. The gameplay has a small twist as you are trying to find characters that are out of place instead of specific things from a list. This can be kind of fun especially since you can find a bunch of out of place characters in quick succession. The game atmosphere is unique as well which brings some character to the game. I had some fun playing the game, but it got repetitive a little too quickly. The game has a number of different modes, but none of them drastically impact the main gameplay. The game has a number of mini games, but I didn’t find any of them to be particularly interesting.
Basically my recommendation comes down to your feelings on hidden object games. If you have never been a big fan of hidden object games, NYAF won’t have anything to offer you. Those that really enjoy the genre though may find enough in the game to give it a chance.
Buy NYAF online: Steam
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Alain Becam – TGB for the review copy of NYAF used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.