Written Article

Viewfinder is going to be one of My Favourite Games

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June 9, 2023
I tried out the demo for Viewfinder which recently became available on PlayStation 5, and it’s exactly what I hoped it would be.
Viewfinder is going to be one of My Favourite Games
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First revealed at The Game Awards in 2022, Viewfinder by Sad Owl Studios is described as a perspective-shifting puzzle game. Players will use photographs, paintings, sketches, screenshots and postcards to alter the world around them while uncovering secrets of the game world. This is exactly the type of experience, and with a July 18 release date we won’t have too long to wait to play the full game, until then thankfully the team have dropped a short demo for us to try.

the player has access to a camera which allows them to change the world based on the photographs they take.

Like similar styled experiences in the genre, titles such as Superliminal and Manifold Garden for example, the player explores puzzle environments in first-person with the goal of reaching a specific location within the level. For Viewfinder that’s usually the teleporter which will take you to the next level, however reaching these is never as straight-forward as just that, as players must manipulate these play spaces using set pieces found in photographs or other static imagery found in the level. This becomes even more interesting once the player has access to a camera which allows them to change the world based on the photographs they take. Can’t reach a specific location? Use the camera to take a picture of some nearby architectural feature and use a rotated version of the photo to recreate it as a bridge or ramp to reach said location. Not enough batteries to power a device? Take a photograph of battery to add more into the world. It’s an amazing concept that is executed masterfully in the game.

Another great effect that occurs when interacting with the static images is how it shifts the design of the environment. Paintings will create 3D spaces to explore made up of colourful brush strokes, while child-like drawings come to life with geometry built around the simple pencil lines. Then there’s screenshots form retro-styled videogames which, well, I would rather not spoil – just trust me when I say it’s a great moment in terms of puzzle-design.

If you have a chance to, give the demo a try, after playing through it I knew right away that Viewfinder is on track to be on the list of my favourite games.

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It's me, the admin of two-minute ramble. I'm an 80s kid with an obsessive love of videogames and most pop-culture stuff.
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