Launching today on Facebook, Zynga's Hidden Chronicles ditches farming and building in favor of unlocking the mystery of your uncle's death via hidden object games. Okay, there's a little building too.

I didn't even realize my uncle had died, but here we are in Hidden Chronicles, rifling through his stuff and travelling the world rifling through the stuff of others in order to solve the mysterious mystery of his mysterious death, mysteriously. It's a whole lot of timed poking about, searching for a shopping list of obscure objects. It's rather fun, in a lazy sort of way.


Hidden Chronicles integrates social features into the hidden object genre by allowing players to visit their friends and challenge them to daily 60-second search-offs for fabulous virtual prizes. And when you aren't hunting for things you can decorate your virtual estate with them instead, because Zynga requires you place some stuff in their titles.

Hidden object games are a big hit with female casual gamers, so Zynga gathered some of the biggest names in female casual gaming to create Hidden Chronicles. There's creative director Cara Ely, creator of the Dream Day Wedding series; art director Margaret Foley-Mauvais, who also acted as art director for "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Godfather"; and the legendary Jane Jensen of Gabriel Knight fame. They've even got Christy Marx, the writer / designer of Conquesst of Camelot and Conquests of the Longbow. If creating seek-and-find adventure games were an Olympic sport, this would be the team the U.S. fielded.

And so what if the genre leans towards the ladies. We can find hidden objects just as well as they can, and I know just the place to prove it.

Hidden Chronicles [Facebook]