As a gamer, I’ve found that I’m picky when it comes to puzzles in video games. Zelda puzzles don’t really hold my interest, yet the ones in Planet of Lana and the Uncharted games speak to me. Due to my taste, I’m shocked when I find a puzzle game that I completely vibe with. That is why hours into playing Viewfinder I knew that I had to tell people about this game.
Let’s dive into it.
You play as a researcher who is in a simulation to discover a scientist’s lost work that is believed to be the solution to climate change. It’s a fairly surface-level story that just connects the puzzle levels together.
The game works as follows, you find photos or create photos of what you see, then you aim it where you want, and what was in the photo pops into existence fully in 3D. A 2D image instantly becomes a 3D space that allows you to solve various puzzles. For example, you can use a Polaroid picture of a walkway or staircase to create a new pathway for you, however, whatever you use destroys the environments that were there beforehand.
The goal of each level is to overcome the obstacles and use the teleporter. Sometimes there are wires you have to connect, batteries you have to find, or switches you have to flip to power the teleporter. If you mess up there is a rewind feature(it reminded me of rewinding a tape in the VCR and the 90s kid in me loves it) that lets you go back to any part of the puzzle.
Playing Viewfinder I found myself often stumped by a stage, but constantly ticketing and trying out new placements of pictures in the pursuit of that dopamine-like rush of completing a level. The slight but constant increase in difficulty combined with the masterful level designs kept me coming back for me. The puzzles are unique and well thought out and I never found myself getting bored.
The concept of taking shots of what you see, copying it, and then replicating that screen anywhere you want is special. The various art styles and color schemes help bring the levels to life. Many levels offer different artsyles like navigating a kid’s crayon drawing of a house, colorful and vibrant platforms, and even black and white areas that look like they were drawn with a pencil. The various artstyles add that extra touch that keeps each stage feeling fresh.
Despite being invested in the game, upon completion I found myself reflecting on the narrative and coming up blank. There’s dialogue and exposition in the game, but it wasn’t compelling and memorable. If you are looking for a deep story to get invested in then this isn’t the game for you.
Overall/Should you Play Viewfinder:
2023 has been a great year for puzzle games with games such as Cacoon, Planet of Lana, and Humanity. Each game represents the genre well in different ways. I’m happy to report Viewfinder is another remarkable addition to that lineup. The only missing piece that holds Viewfinder back from realizing its full potential is its forgettable narrative. Despite the story, this game is an easy one to recommend for puzzle game fans who are looking for a unique concept and gameplay mechanic.
Where Should Viewfinder fit in your video game backlog:
Here at the ProNerd Report and on the Single Player Experience Podcast, we practice the 10 games backlog rule. In this practice, you log down 10 games, those games are gonna be your video game backlog. To be as productive as you possibly can be, we recommend that you only play three games at one time. One single player narrative game, one game that’s gonna be your chill and relaxed game, and another game that’s going to be your palate cleanser game, which is a game that you play when you’re not in the mood for your other narrative. When you complete or get tired of one game, it leaves the backlog list. Then you decide which new game is added to the list, and which game on the list advances to your active three games.
Viewfinder – Viewfinder would make a really good palette cleanser game or fit well in your chill and relax spot. It’s a game that you can easily pick up and play without worrying about forgetting story beats. If you are a fan of puzzle games then you should have it in your video game backlog list.
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Reviewed on PC/Steam Deck