Botkin's Hidden Cove is yet another example of Playdom copying its own games on Facebook. With Gardens of Time, Blackwood & Bell Mysteries and Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers providing plenty of hidden object gameplay in the company's catalog, it makes sense that Playdom would go to something a bit different for its next project, that being Botkin's Hidden Cove. However, saying that Botkin's Hidden Cove is a "unique" game would only be slightly accurate, as it's a combination of three different games that we've seen time and time again on Facebook.
To be specific, the "home" world of Botkin's Hidden Cove is virtually identical to another Playdom game: Ghosts of Mistwood. You'll be asked to create a sanctuary in the middle of a lush jungle where talking forest critters can find safety from an evil witch doctor that wants to use them as sacrifices in horrible rituals. Like in Ghosts of Mistwood, there's no traditional energy system limiting your actions; instead, each specific action takes a different amount of time to complete. While some tasks may only take a few seconds to complete, others take substantially longer. What's more, you're limited to only completing a small number of actions at a time, dependent on how many critters you've saved as you advance the storyline (each critter can perform a single task at a time).
The technical problems found in Ghosts of Mistwood are present here as well, as you'll need far more Machetes to explore the jungle (ie: expand your land) than are readily available without crafting, and you can't queue actions to be completed by either your main character or your helper friends. Finally, there's an odd glitch that causes your cursor to disappear entirely if you jump into the game's full screen mode and then out again. The only way to fix it is to refresh the game entirely, which is annoying especially on slower internet connections.
As for the other two gameplay types, you'll be given a game pad that will allow you to complete levels of a bubble-popping game and a hidden object game. These are entirely separate experiences from the actual cove and "town-builder" gameplay mentioned above, as you'll only be able to play until your "mini-game" specific energy runs out and must wait for it to recharge over time. The hidden object game is a basic replica of Playdom's other hidden object games that offers scenes in random themes, as though they were the cast-offs from the company's true hidden object games.
In terms of the bubble-game, it's a slow, fairly monotonous experience that contains only the basic features found in most every other Facebook bubble-popping game. That is, you'll need to burst bubbles in the top row of each level's template in order to make progress towards completion, and you'll earn mastery stars for each level based on the amount of points you earn when all is said and done.
Technically speaking, these three gameplay types do offer you plenty to do, and the addition of hidden object and bubble-popping gameplay can provide a nice distraction while you're waiting for your avatar and helpers to complete actions back in the cove. However, with the game focusing on so much variety in terms of gameplay, none of the three modes are particularly addictive (and all definitely have flaws). Ultimately, any long-term enjoyment from Botkin's Hidden Cove will come from how much you enjoy the town-building portion of the game, which is a bit too monotonous in the long run. If you'd like to give Botkin's Hidden Cove a shot for yourself, you can now play the game for free on Facebook.
Click here to play Botkin's Hidden Cove on Facebook ---->
What do you think of Botkin's Hidden Cove? Do you think the game is better for its combination of three gameplay types, or do you think Playdom should have focused all of its efforts on one gameplay type over the others? Sound off in the comments.