Hide and seek for days. NYAF review.



It has been a busy month and the holidays are upon us. With all this seasonal rush there is also the anticipated barrage of new videogames being released not to mention this is a new console release year. With all these new high impact games and distractions it can be hard to relax and breath for a moment, especially if you are bit ADHD prone like myself with a scattered brain going in a million directions. But recently I was send a code for NYAF a where is waldo like puzzle game and it has offered me a restful oasis during my hectic days. 


What is it?
NYAF is a hidden object game created by indie developer Alain Becam. In it you try to locate out of place characters by moving around and zooming into the artwork and clicking those things that do not belong. Once the board is cleared you move on to the next stage. It is a calm and relaxing experience without any time pressure or in game deaths. 



Gameplay
As I mentioned this is a hidden object game and the purpose of the game is to locate those items that are not part of the overall art work. Much like where is Waldo books and similar puzzles finding the objects has been made complicated because there is so much on screen with lots of silly little (and bigger) characters. 
Every  time you find one of the objects and click it a little audio queue plays which harmoniously blends in with the games sound track. These audio moments and the soundtrack create a smooth experience where all parts feel as a dynamic and cohesive game.  There was a ton of variety in the sounds too, as to not to get to bored by them. These queues are a pure cosmetic part of the game and have no bearing on the game play it self.  Once you get close to the end and have a few items left to find, clue arrows will point out the direction something is located. It can be a bit hard to follow of you try to look at all arrows at once, so you want to just pick on to focus on , follow it and once you find its related object move to the next one.
The game has a bundle of difficulty options for those that want to be challenged a bit more including hidden "bombs" you need to avoid and a timer records how long it took you to solve the level for those that want to speed run it.


NYAF has actually cross platform safe build in that works with their other versions and comes with multiple game modes, some of which require you to play the early modes or find secrets to unlock them.




The included modes are 

NYAF, the traditional game play where you locate the hidden characters. You get 8 difficulty levels and can earn coins that you can use to buy "dogs" which can assist  you in finding the objects.

YANYAF 
In this mode you need to find small symbols in a infinite generated background. There is no end goal but simply a perpetual challenge to look for tiny objects.

YAF (*only available as a separate parody on android)
This is where things get a little sill. As the game description states, "this is where the Paywalls are part of the game!" The game lampoons the many games that charge you to progress in these free to play games. Especially on mobile app stores. 

*BJS Another bonus game. From the lips of the  developer: Then there is another bonus game in NYAF, called BJS and even sillier.

Lastly there is MMPG. This is a minimalistic view of the characters from the game having a massive battles. You can unlock various units by playing the other game modes and it has very minimal input needed of you as a player.  Once you win a level you can unlock it for further play and exploration.



At the time of this final review there are also 2 new modes. Though playable they are still in development according an on screen wording. One was a 3D presentation of YNAF and the other YNAF in space. In both cases the gameplay remained the same but the with the shackles of the 2D plane removed these new modes offer some unique experiences, adding a wow factor.




There are regular updates released through steam showing a long lasting potential for more content in this game.

presentation
The overall view of the game is cute and artsy. All of the characters designed by artist Sébastien Lesage are hand painted and some of them are scanned in from their 1x1 meter (40inch) original canvas. The greenish hue is due to the use of glow in the dark paint in the originals and makes for a unique style. 
Combined with music from various musicians such as, Chris Huelsbeck, Chan Redfield, Chris Collins, LiQWYD, Alexander Nakarada, Jean-Philippe Rameau to blend in and complement each level the game delivers a relaxing experience. 

Initially the game was feeling very bare bones but a few early updates have added a lot of meat to the game, it even has a full automatic save so you can quit at any time without losing your progress.




However it is not all great, the menus are bare bones and not well layed out and until the now included tutorial the game never told you what was going on at the start.
Graphics wise the game looks very nice but does not hold up when you start zooming in and pixilation and artifacting is starting to occur. A side effect I am sure from using scans , but in case of looking for the tiniest of objects it would be nice to have a sharper image. That said, this is only when zooming in and not noticeable all the time.




Final thoughts
I had never played a hidden object game as a computer game, usually it would be a book in a waiting room or perhaps a poster in a bedroom that could take me hours to stare at and find new things every time.
As a computer game I must say the experience translates very well and offered a relaxing break away from the stresses of the day. The newly added 3D versions look really good and make a great addition to the game. 
You can change difficulty if you find the game too easy but for me it is not about the challenge as much as it is about quietly clicking away and unlocking the next piece of artwork to discover. 
This a game for all ages and fun to pickup and play at any of those moments you are just looking for something else to do or to spend hours in getting lost. In many ways the experience is much like putting together a jigsaw and finding that missing piece is very satisfying. NYAF is out now on PC (steam)and Android.




Game information

Title: NYAF
Developer: Alain Becam -TGB
Publisher: Alain Becam - TGB
Release date: November 09, 2020
Platforms: PC (Steam), Android
Review platform:  PC ( Steam)
ESRB: N/A 

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