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The Hidden



Augmented reality shooter proves extremely frustrating.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The slim story sees players working to keep the world safe from evil spirits. It’s a pretty straightforward tale of good-versus-bad. The game also promotes moderate physical activity by forcing players to walk about and spin around in order to find and target enemies.

Positive role models

Players assume the role of a ghost hunter who works to clear areas of paranormal threats. The people on his team are generally good comrades, if sometimes a bit strict and snide.

Ease of play

Combat is simply a matter of moving your 3DS to target, pressing a button to fire, and then pressing another button to collect ectoplasm. However, finding ghosts is maddeningly difficult. Expect to spend half an hour or more at a time simply walking around and looking for enemies.


Players use the 3DS’ top screen, camera, and gyroscope as a targeting mechanism to find and shoot angry, blobby apparitions supposedly hidden in our surroundings. Enemies disappear when defeated, leaving behind little bits of material that players can collect.

Not applicable

Text dialogue includes infrequent use of the words "ass" and "damn."

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Hidden is an augmented reality game in which players use the 3DS’s camera to scan their surroundings to find concealed evil ghosts. Once found, players shoot and destroy them with a variety of sci-fi weapons, causing them to explode in a plume of energy and smoke. Parents should note, though, that finding ghosts can be extremely difficult and frustrating to players both young and old. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning all parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.

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What's it about?

Players take on the role of an agent who hunts evil \"shades\" in THE HIDDEN, an augmented reality game for 3DS that uses the device’s camera. Kids walk around, sweeping the console in all directions in search of paranormal activity. Once located, players use a small stock of weapons to destroy the spooks. They can then harvest any leftover ectoplasm, which the G.E.I.S.T. lab uses to research new weapons and gear. Players take missions by reading emails, and can pin hot locations to a map, naming each spot for easy reference.

Is it any good?


There’s an undeniably fun idea at the heart of The Hidden -- namely, using the 3DS camera and gyroscope to find and fight spirits hidden in our world. Sadly, it’s lost just a couple of missions into the action. The problem? We couldn’t find any ghosts. Thinking we must be missing something, we went back through the game’s tutorials and directives. The only advice we could find was to keep scanning and searching. So we walked around some more. Aside from a couple of pink and orange circles that went skittering across the ground so quickly we weren’t even certain we’d seen them, we again found nothing. We consulted the instruction book looking for answers. Finding none, we decided to try scanning our surroundings one more time. We walked indoors and outdoors, took our 3DS into bright light and dark rooms, and pointed the camera at objects of every imaginable hue. But we were rewarded with nothing.

A quick internet search revealed we weren’t the only ones to encounter this frustrating problem. So we quit playing and sat down to write this review, with the intent of telling readers the game is all but unplayable. Consider yourself warned.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about augmented reality. What do you think of 3DS games that turn your surroundings into part of the game? Does it make the experience more interesting and immersive, or just plain creepy? 

  • Families can also discuss staying active. Games like this one keep players moving, but what sort of physical activities do you like to take part in outside of games?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Available online?Not available online
Release date:November 4, 2011
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Language

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