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Incredible Photography Puzzle Platforming Game - Viewfinder Review


Incredible Photography Puzzle Platforming Game - Viewfinder Review

Viewfinder immediately blew me away. It's a game about taking Polaroid photos and then 
magically materializing them back in the world at the exact spot you hold the photograph too. And it's not only incredible, but also allows for some ingenious puzzles, like having to photograph a bridge and placing it down elsewhere across a gap, or using it to slice a hole in an existing wall as the new geometry slices through the old one like a hot knife through butter. But can this novel mechanic carry an entire game?

The photo mechanic works so well. That it's easy to take for granted how impossible it seems, and I can only imagine the coding nightmare must have been. The game starts off simpler by giving you pre taken photos to play around with, but it's not long before you're given the freedom of taking your own photos with a special camera. Where you'll have to keep in mind things like composition and distance from the object as it directly affects how it'll appear when it's rematerialized back in the world. Such as ensuring a new platform is within jumping distance and considering you can even rotate photos before deploying them.

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Viewfinder Review

There can be a lot of creativity involved in figuring out how to reach the teleporter at the end of the level. Thankfully, the game is very forgiving with a rewind feature that allows for very quick do overs. Even better, you can instantly rewind to any key point that the game automatically logs based on when you took or placed a photo. The levels are accessed from 5 different world hubs, each one representing the different scientists that work together to research climate saving technology. Now you're there long after these events occurred.

And you'll learn about their story and struggles by what they've left behind, including post it notes, audio recordings, and talking Yeah cat. I quite enjoyed this hands off approach to the storytelling, with much of it told through clues you discover and environmentally as I learned through the dire state of the actual world that inspired these events. As for the cat, this one is quite complicated. Well, I found it a bit annoying at points, but hey, at least you could pet the cat. Now, the goal of each level is to find and power up a teleporter that'll take you to the next stage. The catch is that powering them up is usually a puzzle in and of itself. It might be as simple as placing a battery on the nearby power pad, No, not that one. Or it might need multiple batteries, in which you might find yourself taking photos of batteries to duplicate them, or possibly even using a photocopier to copy the photos, therefore making even more batteries.

ViewFinder Photos

There are powered filament tubes that are cleverly designed to break. If they're not entirely contained within your photo, this restriction leads to some photography challenges to try and fit everything in one shot, and clever puzzles that require linking power together. Viewfinder feels relaxing at first, but it eventually throws in timers to add some light pressure, although it never gets too intense. Mostly the small level size combined with the limited amount of photos you can take ensures the amount of options never feels overwhelming, even when puzzles demand some creative thinking like photocopying specific elements.

Or even taking photos of photos, although there are times you might be able to cheese your way through a bit, like how you can solve some shrine puzzles and tears of the Kingdom. There are some fun Easter eggs in the form of unique photos that you'll find too, like this jump power up or the screen painting you can literally go into. Well, they're mostly just for fun. Some also serve as backstory for the characters, for better or worse. The game takes away the camera for a period of time near the end of the game and focuses instead on puzzles with the color filter into the world. That you need to match up with another color pane to move on. It's a weird change of pace, but the achievement for doing it is I've had my fill Tur and yeah, I did as I wanted to just go back to the camera. There was one puzzle with three doorways in a row and instead of the feeling of aha I got it, it's more of a relief to move on. There were also some trickier 2D perspective puzzles in the game, and while not as intuitive at times, they did push me more to figure out an answer.

Viewfinder Puzzles

We had a lot of time during the viewfinder review period, which made me worried that the developers knew I'd get stuck in certain puzzles for hours. But that never happened. Which on the one hand was nice that I never truly felt and possibly stuck, but on the other I wouldn't have minded A bit more of a difficulty curve, at least on the optional challenge levels. Since I found myself usually figuring out a puzzle in two to three minutes, the a has and sense of accomplishment didn't feel as high as it has in other puzzle focus games. Thankfully, The last World is pretty fantastic. Perhaps the most duck I was in a puzzle was this partially open drawbridge in a very early level

where I even knew I saw what to do in the demo. But forgotten was thinking, Do I have to rotate the picture in such a way for Gravity to bring it down? No, I over thought it, and there's simply a handle near bite of hole. Fortunately, this is an outlier to the main game. The story does end in a satisfying way, with a cool final level that's both unique and offers a good challenge, and it serves both the gameplay and story well. And the fact that has a positive message that I connected with about the environment is the cherry on top. Although I preferred hearing the scientist stories more than hearing from the cat by the end. Overall Viewfinders core mechanic is outstanding and brilliantly polished, but I feel it could have done even more to push its limits. The story and setup was well done and kept me wanting to find out the end of the mystery.

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