There was a part of Game and Wario, the last proper WarioWare game, that I always thought was a cool idea because it captured a part of my childhood – and that will undoubtedly resonate with a lot of kids out there. In it, 9-Volt decides to play games after his mom tells him to go to bed, and has to worry about her catching him and confiscating his system. It takes me back to when I was a kid, and I secretly bought a light for my Game Boy that let me play under the covers. It was the risk/reward of wanting to play more Pokemon while also knowing that if I got caught while doing so, I'd lose my system for at least a couple of days.
Mom Hid My Game! is the next step from that – you've been caught playing your games when you're not supposed to, and your mom is mad and hides it; but damn it, you're determined! You gotta play those games so you only have one option left...find your game.
I bring up that WarioWare game for a couple of reasons. First, it's a similar childhood experience explored through games – the desire to play more of your games and a parent who wants to moderate your exposure to them. Second, it's because they share very similar design philosophies.
Both this and the WarioWare games are based on fast-paced levels, seemingly random humor, and a minimalistic presentation that speeds you right towards the next ridiculous thing. When you start playing Mom Hid My Game!, you're looking for your game in feasible hiding places, like a cabinet, a closet, or in a vase. However, it isn't long before you find yourself stealing it from the mouth of a crocodile, or offering up a golden game system to a goddess.,, who happens to be living in a puddle in your living room.
Mom may have hidden my games from me a couple of times, but they were simply in the closet where I couldn't reach them. I never had to solve an escape room for it!
Where this game excels is in its speed and breadth. It moves fast, getting you from one puzzle to the next so quickly, and each new one is such an off-the-wall kind of puzzle that it keeps you on your toes and guessing throughout the fifty levels. Well...for the most part. Some of the challenges are reused a few times, which is a little unfortunate.
This is also a game that is difficult to talk about because the more you say about it, the more solutions you give away. It's a game about the surprise and joy of each weird new challenge, and even just mentioning things like that goddess take away from what you're supposed to feel when you're playing it. It's a game that coasts on the "HAHA what?!" reaction you get when you see something pop up, and then figuring out how to logic your way around something so illogical.
Don't worry! It (almost) always makes sense.
More than anything, Mom Hid My Game! works best as a sort of break game. When you get frustrated by Zelda, when you get caught in a mystery in LA Noire, when you're destroyed in a battle in Splatoon, you can bump out real fast and fire off a couple of quick challenges. Even if you don't solve it, the enthusiastic mood it has and the hilarious cry of "MOMMA!!!!" by the kid never failed to put a smile on my face.
Also it's five dollars. That's like a pittance for the best WarioWare game that's not a WarioWare game. And I also wanna throw in here that the last level's twist on the idea is pretty excellent. Plus, I love the fact that their commitment to your mom trying to keep you from playing games goes to the hint system as well, where you can still get caught by her if you don't solve the minigame correctly.
I know it's just a port of a mobile game, but I'm really glad to see such a *weird* game pop up on the Switch's eShop. At almost a year in, the logic that goes behind what's greenlit for the eShop is still kind of a question – so this unusual, inspired game being on there is heartening. Nintendo's had such a weird history of what's fine and what isn't on its systems, but maybe we can see the Switch be the home of weirder, smaller games than the other systems can offer. I know I'm really just hanging a lot of expectations on a small $5 release, but it could be a sign of good things!
Mom Hid my Game! is short, sweet, and delightful - a fun game to enjoy on little breaks between other games. It's quick to fire up and get into, and the puzzles are pretty fun, if not the most challenging things in the world. Even your failures are quick to bounce back from. It loses out a bit by repeating some of its challenges and at times not being sensible, but it's otherwise a fun and unusual puzzle game you owe it to yourself to try.