The Hidden Object Show returns for "Season 2" with more polish, better graphics, and - if you can believe it - even more bang for the buck. If you thought the first game was long, wait until you sink your teeth into its sequel, which boasts a mind-blowing 300 rounds - that's three times more than the first game had.
The premise of The Hidden Object Show: Season 2 is similar to the first, where you're a contestant on a game show competing in various seek-and-find challenges. This time around, the game takes place in a sensory-overload carnival setting where successfully finding objects in each cluttered scene earns you tickets that can be redeemed for typical carnival trinkets like stuffed animals and RC cars, in addition to winning "real" prizes and cash as part of the game show.
After each basic seek-and-find scene you'll play a set of bonus rounds that are once again randomly determined, but this time it's by a fortune teller peering into his crystal ball.
There are 11 bonus games in total, which are on the whole quite ingenious and fun. In addition to typical spot the difference and searching by silhouette type variations, there's also the unique Letter Getter, where you have to click on hidden letters to fill in the names of words on the list then find those words; and Find 10, where you're given a basic clue and have to find ten objects that fit the bill (one example is "Things that spin," where you could click on a propeller hat, spinning top, pinwheel, and compact disc).
In each scene you can also find and click on extra tickets to add to your total, question marks to add hints, and skip chips, which can be placed on a mini-game you don't like so that the fortune teller is guaranteed not to land on it for one turn.
The Hidden Object Show: Season 2 is an improvement over its predecessor in a few ways. The carnival atmosphere, which includes scenes in a retro arcade, ferris wheel and bumper car ride, works extremely well. Scenes are bright and colorful with objects that are sharper and easier to make out than. The game show host is no longer slightly creepy – he's in color instead of black and white, which helps a lot. He also comes with an arsenal of fun animations, like the way he'll get start tapping on your screen if you let the game sit for a certain length of time, or pop into the screen when you use a hint to tap on a hidden item with his cane.
On the downside, players will have to put up with some really overbearing sound effects, like the screeching animals in the jungle zoo scene. And because there's no evolving plot to drive the story forward, coupled with the game's massive length, Season 2 has a sort of never-ending quality that can get monotonous over long play sessions.
That said, The Hidden Object Show: Season 2 has made great strides as a sequel. A lot of care and attention has been put into the right places to make the game more enjoyable and let the series' quirky sense of humor shine through. If you're a fan of hidden object games but had issues with Season 1, you owe it to yourself to at least download the demo of Season 2 and check out the new features for yourself.