Sometimes the hardest thing to find in a hidden object game is the gameplay. Seeing something and then poking it isn't exactly a recipe for thrills.
Even so, the best games in the genre are able to find the sweet spot between point-and-click-style hunt (albeit without any real sense of plot) and convoluted jigsaw puzzle.
The Tiny Bang Story HD comes close to occupying this sweet spot, only thwarted by the game's refusal to let you in on its particular brand of logic.Give us a clue
More than anything, what The Tiny Bang Story HD's treasure hunts require is a hint or two.
Levels are spread over a series of different picture screens, each one intertwined with the next and broken up by a number of mini-games to keep things fresh. This is all well and good, but where The Tiny Bang Story HD really excels is the way it layers its searches.
On the right of the screen are both the items you need to find and the number you need to amass.
Early on, this involves spotting the odd objects out - jigsaw pieces are dotted around levels, poking out from behind the level architecture in a passage of play that resembles a large game of Where's Wally?
As levels progress, however, objects that initially looked like decoration suddenly become active. Everything from light bulbs to sprockets pop up on the ever-expanding shopping list, forcing you to retrace your steps.Back and forth
It's here that The Tiny Bang Story HD starts to demand more than just good eyesight. You need to use your memory.
Once you realise that the gameplay requires you to dart back and forth between the same screens, taking in your surroundings becomes part and parcel of the challenge.
You can save a lot of time by simply remembering where you've seen an object before it was added to your roster, rather than scanning the scene endlessly after the event.
In amongst all this are mini-games that test your talents in other areas. Observation is always at the heart of everything The Tiny Bang Story HD does, but you'll also find speed and - increasingly - your own determination are necessary qualities.
The Tiny Bang Story HD's biggest problem is that it often requires more determination than is reasonable.
Whether due to translation issues or not, The Tiny Bang Story HD is almost entirely without guidance. Aside from a few illustrated gesture swipes showing you how to pick up objects and a 'help' icon briefly highlighting areas of interest, you're left utterly alone.A different story
It's here that the game's setting - a world seemingly broken up into a million jigsaw pieces - doesn't help matters: The Tiny Bang Story HD is undoubtedly one of the best-looking games in its field, but knowing how its weird and wonderful world relates to your task isn't always easy.
It took a certain amount of persistence during my play test to even work out how to move from one screen to the next, and why I needed to do so in the first place.
As a result, discovering parts of the game locked off behind seemingly unremarkable doors or panels is often the case of guesswork. All too often, the only way to work out where to go next is to tap on every part of the screen until the game reacts in some way.
In the end, The Tiny Bang Story HD proves to be too clever for its own good.
While its level design and structure has to be commended, its tendency to drift off into its own world - leaving you behind in the process - does not.