Hidden Objects: Gardens of Time




Hidden objects and sim combine for fun, social game.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The game is easy to figure out, especially for players familiar with building sims and hidden object searches. There's an introductory tutorial with guidance throughout gameplay and unlimited hints in the hidden object scenes. 

Not applicable

The character guides who narrate the game refer to having romantic relationships with each other, and at one point, mention that one of the women had an affair.

Not applicable

Players can make in-app purchases for energy and gold bars to speed up gameplay, with prices ranging from $.99 to $99.99; the game is still playable without making a purchase. Players can also earn "free" gold by signing up for email lists, "liking" companies on Facebook, or installing other apps. Frequent pop-ups advertise bonus content and energy packs that players can buy for gold bars. With every achievement, players are encouraged to tell their friends. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One of the hidden object scenes is a London nightclub, and players are asked to find an ashtray, lighter, and cigar. In the intro to this scene, the character guides make references to drinking alcohol.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Hidden Objects: Gardens of Time is an iOS version of the popular Facebook game Gardens of Time. It is mobile-only, and does not connect to the Facebook game. The app combines hidden object searches with a social building sim, in which players try to create the most elaborate garden. The game is free, but offers in-app purchases for game currency and to speed up gameplay. Social networking is optional, but is persistently encouraged throughout the app. Players can choose to add friends and share high scores via Facebook, Apple's Game Center, or within the app's own social network. Friend interactions within the app's network are limited to visiting each other's gardens and sending "gifts" of energy or other gameplay perks; there are no messaging features, and the only possibly identifying information shared is the name players give to their gardens.  

What kids can learn


Social Studies

  • history



  • imagination

Engagement, Approach, Support


Learning Approach


What kids can learn


Social Studies

  • history



  • imagination

Hidden Objects: Gardens of Time wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Wilkey Oh

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What's it about?

Players travel back in time to help the Time Society correct discrepancies in different historical scenes. Players must find a list of objects as quickly as possible in scenes from various time periods and civilizations, including ancient Egypt and Renaissance Italy. Players spend coins and gold bars to build and decorate their gardens. Players can earn coins, gold bars, and energy by completing quests. Players can send and receive gifts to other players as well as earn experience points, energy, and coins by visiting neighbors' gardens.

Is it any good?


HIDDEN OBJECTS: GARDENS OF TIME is a skillful mash-up of two very popular gaming genres. Fans of hidden object searches and building sims will find themselves sucked in quickly. Social interactions definitely enhance the game, and the in-app network gives players access to social features without requiring they connect to Facebook or Apple's Game Center. The pop-ups encouraging players to tell their friends about the game can be annoying at first, but become less noticeable over time. And though in-app purchases speed up gameplay and allow players to buy more elaborate structures for their gardens, spending real money is not necessary. Occasionally, players will have to wait for energy to build up before they can keep playing, but it's often possible to pass lengthy stretches of time in the game. 

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:July 25, 2012
Category:Puzzle Games
Size:21.40 MB
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.0 or later

This review of Hidden Objects: Gardens of Time was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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