It is a magical moment. You grasp a Polaroid picture in your hand, you put it up to your eyes and suddenly, the world changes around it. It is a similar experience to seeing polaroids juxtaposed to show the same place in two different eras. But it’s you changing the world this time. Are you ready to bring positive change? Let’s find out how in our Viewfinder review.
There’s not much to the story of Viewfinder from the outset, as you discover it while playing through the levels. All you know is that you are an explorer sent to a parallel world (or experiment), to find the details of a tool to save the world from catastrophic climate change. To discover the details of this tool, you have to solve many levels filled with puzzles by using, well, photographs and pictures.
There’s an incredible beauty of discovery in the first levels of Viewfinder. It is a rare feeling to find in an industry that is pushing fifty years old, but you’ll find amazement at the beautiful idea of changing your world by juxtaposing pictures. Do you have a picture of a bridge? You might use it to cross over. Need two batteries but only have one? Take a picture and use it. The goal is always the same: reach the teleporter and proceed.
Puzzles will gradually become more complicated, using increasingly more complex ideas and concepts. At one point, you have to use sound to keep teleporters activated. In other levels, color might have an essential role, like figuring out the right order of filters to proceed through doors. But you won’t be completely alone, you’ll have the company of CAIT, a sweet little virtual cat who definitely knows more than they’re letting on.
Despite the fantastic ideas you might find in Viewfinder, I still believe the developers could have pushed the envelope much further. At one point, you get to play with a Tamagotchi-like minigame, an 8-bit game, and pictures drawn in various styles, from impressionistic to simple child style. But the number of styles could have been used to design some incredible puzzles, for sure. But the game ignores all of that, and mostly sticks to the idea of using Polaroids.
While it is a bit of a shame, let’s not accuse Viewfinder of cowardice. What’s there to play is still quite incredible and will keep most players happy in their short playtime. Depending on how hard you find some puzzles, this is a game you can complete in around 4-5 hours. Despite the asking price, this feels like the right length, artistically.
Graphically, the game keeps a perfect performance from start to finish, changing styles and showing a very flexible engine. Relaxing electronic music is your main friend throughout the game. There are recordings to listen to, along with our perennial enthusiastic (colleague?) Jessie, who soon started to get on my nerves.
Viewfinder is one of the best puzzle games you’ll play all year. It might have been much more, but we won’t absolutely scoff at what’s on offer here. It’s filled with creative ideas, unforgettable moments of discovery and so many virtual foods you’ll be left hungry for more. Viewfinder is a must-play for all puzzle game lovers.
Our Viewfinder review was made possible with a key provided by Plan of Attack PR. Viewfinder is available on Steam and PlayStation 5.
Viewfinder: Thanks to its unique and creative mechanics, Viewfinder will definitely be one of the best puzzles you will play all year. – Damiano Gerli