We’re fortunate enough to live in an age where game developers are aplenty, especially in Japan, and more games are released than we can keep up with. One that I totally bypassed is the excellently named Hidden my game by mom!, a free escape room-style puzzle game for smartphones that’s become an underground hit.
Developed by Hap Inc., a Tokyo-based one-man studio run by self-taught developer Yuusaku Ishimoto, Hidden my game by mom! was first released back in 2016. The game has since been reviewed more than 80,000 times on Google Play alone, with players loving the simple game’s ability to keep them engaged through hilariously weird scenarios —all the better for the bad English they’re relayed in.
According to an interview on tech news site The Verge, Ishimoto came up with the title after google translating the Japanese: ママにゲーム隠された. Though the name was changed for the game’s release on Nintendo Switch, fans asked him to keep the original for the smartphone version, now in its third installment.
Playing Hidden my game by mom!
With simple graphics and clever puzzles, Hidden my game by mom actually made me want to keep playing until I beat all 30 levels. What’s more is when you beat the game they randomize the unlocked levels and throw in some new ones for the fun of it.
Like any sane child, you adore your video games. Your mother, apron-clad and obviously tired of your laziness, and what one can only assume are her daily chores, takes it upon herself to hide your game — which looks a lot like a Nintendo DS (but for obvious reasons cannot be described as such) — in the most odd ways. We’re talking everything from a gymnastics team, an array of animals, the police, and even your own grandfather.
If you find yourself a bit lost you can get a hint in the form of a wonderfully noble attempt of English translation, but you do have to watch a video advertisement first.
What really kept my attention was the game’s ability to sometimes make you think outside of the game interface in order to solve the level. Sometimes the solution makes perfect logical sense, and other times you find the not-a-Nintendo-DS in a location just because. Yet the game never gives a solution that leaves you, or your deductive reasoning, feeling insulted if you fail a few times.
With catchy and admittedly cute music, I’d gladly play a level only to discover the solution is making grandpa drink so much water he has to hobble his arthritic hips over to the restroom.
After playing the original, I’m keen to try the second and third installments to see if I can find my game again — but only after I call my mom.
For more, browse our Gaming in Japan content and let us know if you have any suggestions for games to review in the comments!