Hidden Expedition Smithsonian: Hope Diamond

Game review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
Hidden Expedition Smithsonian: Hope Diamond Game Poster Image
Frustration-free hidden object adventure offers ample hints.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about U.S. historical figures and the history of the Hope Diamond, as well as pattern recognition and puzzle solving. The game challenges players with mini-games, I-spy searches that encourage kids to discern patterns, and inventory-based puzzles. Hidden Expedition Smithsonian: Hope Diamond makes kids use their minds -- so long as they don’t “cheat” by using the game’s ample hint system to reveal all the solutions. 

Positive Messages

The storyline has a positive theme about retrieving a stolen artifact. The thieves ultimately face the consequences of their actions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

None of the characters are particularly well fleshed out. Various characters exhibit greed, self-preservation, and mistrust, but also the Indiana Jones-style attitude that important artifacts belong in museums, not in the hands of thieves.

Ease of Play

There are three levels of difficulty that toggle the speed at which hints recharge and the skip meter (used to skip mini-games) refills. In the easier two difficulty levels, objects that can be interacted with have sparkles around them. Intermediate to advanced reading skill is required.


The main menu contains ads for other games and links to buy them. Players can spend more for the “Collector’s Edition” which contains extras like video and wallpapers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the hidden objects players search for is a “painkiller” -- a pill in a prescription bottle. One puzzle involves creating a sleeping potion and feeding it to a tiger.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hidden Expedition Smithsonian: Hope Diamond is a hidden object adventure game for casual gamers, with adjustable difficulty, ample hints, and mini-games that can be skipped. There’s no gore, sex, language, or other objectionable content, though there are scenes in which players search for painkillers and concoct and administer a sleeping potion to an animal. It isn’t scary like some of its spookier hidden object counterparts, but some of the characters exhibit questionable traits, including greed, self-preservation, and mistrust.

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What's it about?

HIDDEN EXPEDITION SMITHSONIAN: HOPE DIAMOND's plot mixes fact with legend. Players join the Hidden Expedition League of Preservation (H.E.L.P.) to track down and rescue the shards of the Hope Diamond from a family of thieves. Players explore a variety of exotic locations searching for items that can be used to solve puzzles and advance to the next area. This adventure-style gameplay is interspersed with hidden object scenes and mini-games. Kids can access ample hints and clues about how to solve puzzles based on the level of difficulty selected.

Is it any good?

This adventure game takes players on a round-the-world trip while teaching them about the history of one of the world’s most famous gems. With decent production values for a casual game, Hope Diamond should appeal to casual adventure game fans who like the ability to control how challenging the experience is. Plenty of hints and the ability to skip mini-games at will means players should never get stuck.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about which style of gameplay they enjoy more: inventory-based puzzles, mini-games, or hidden object scenes. Which do you think provides the best workout for your brain?

  • Families can also discuss what motivated the thieves to steal the diamond shards. Do you think they deserved to go to jail?

  • What other famous artifacts might make a good subject for an adventure game?

Game details

  • Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
  • Subjects: Math: patterns
    Social Studies: historical figures
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles
  • Price: $19.99
  • Pricing structure: Free to try, Paid (Players can download a free trial then pay to unlock the full version.)
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Big Fish Games
  • Release date: February 20, 2014
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Topics: History
  • ESRB rating: NR
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love puzzles

Themes & Topics

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