The Geometric Sniper series offers a violent twist on the hidden object genre

By Steven T. Wright, Contributo

Hidden object games are enduringly popular, yet you rarely see them discussed in your average gaming spaces. That’s perhaps because they belong to a sector of the hobby—along with auto-clickers, match-three games, and the like—that sees video games as less of a coherent identity and more of a fun way to waste a lunch break. Those who appreciate these delightfully “casual” experiences would do well to check out the Geometric Sniper series, which brings an unusual degree of craft and care to the proceedings.

The Geometric Sniper games feel straight out of the Newgrounds era, and I mean that in the best way possible. From Brazilian developer Yaw Studios, the trilogy pushes the hidden object genre to its limits, and despite its bite-size nature, it’s not afraid to give you some degree of challenge from level to level. As usual with these games, it rewards those who take their time and pay attention, but the ticking clock is always a factor to consider.

The first Geometric Sniper puts you in the role of Andrew, a highly trained sniper who’s weary of his killing ways. Each of the game’s levels tasks you with taking out a target based on a photo ID in a crowded cityscape. The “Geometric” in the title (seemingly) refers to the different head shapes of the various figures you target, as that’s one of the key clues you’ll need to get a positive identification. You also have a limited amount of time to complete each mission, though the amount you get varies from level to level.
Geometric Z
Given that Geometric Sniper is ostensibly a casual game, I expected to breeze my way through it without much resistance, but that wasn’t the case. While it might sound simple enough, your sniper scope only gives you a limited view of the scene, meaning that you really have to stop and pan around to search for your evil Waldo. Yaw Studios can be quite devious when placing your quarry too, forcing you to really sit and consider if this particular scarred, hexagon-shaped head whose face is partially blocked by a window is really the one you’re looking for. Finding the right silhouette is sometimes more important than the target’s face, and it can occasionally require patience to set up the perfect shot.

Several of the missions took me several tries each, particularly the more time-sensitive ones, and the somewhat-randomized target locations kept things fresh. Geometric Sniper also features a breath mechanic to steady your aim, and while it’s not strictly necessary for most of the shots you’ll take, it gives the game a much-needed sense of immersion. You actually feel like you’re taking the shots rather than simply clicking on heads.

If you prefer a less-violent approach, the series also features traditional “find the object” modes where you click on mundane items strewn throughout each of the levels (such as dog bones). You may have to proceed through the main adventure mode to unlock these alternative settings, but they’re perfect for younger gamers (or simply those who don’t like blood).

The latest entry in the series, Geometric Sniper - Z, adds a new twist to the proceedings in the form of zombies, sometimes asking you to take out dozens in a single mission. It’s fair to say that Z is more of a pure sniping game than a hidden object adventure, and it has a lot more systems than its predecessors too. 
Geometric Paris
It has several guns for you to pick from—including several that are fully automatic and even a drone strike—and you’ll need to choose your arsenal carefully to maximize your chance of success. (You can also customize your sniper’s appearance.) Some of the levels (especially the rescue missions) are downright devious if you aren’t well-equipped, and every failure costs you resources that you need to survive in this zombified world. Depending on your preferences, you might prefer the simple charms of the original Geometric Sniper and its sequel Blood in Paris, but Z is certainly the most full-featured in the set.

As I mentioned above, these games bring me back to the afternoons I spent browsing Newgrounds, searching for something to fill the seemingly endless hours. This is especially the case with Geometric Sniper - Z, as the ‘00s and early ‘10s were the heyday of zombie games, and I can't even imagine counting how many walkers I wiped out back then. The Geometric Sniper series is full of the kind of small, focused experiences that can sometimes go unexamined when compared to today's larger releases, but there is a huge audience that delights in this sort of game, and you can buy the entire trilogy for around $10. If you belong to that group—or you're willing to give a hidden object genre a chance—I highly recommend it.

Geometric Sniper, Geometric Sniper - Blood in Paris, and Geometric Sniper - Z are all available on the Epic Games Store.