Viewfinder deserves to be placed on the same high shelf as Portal since it’s uncommon for a first-person puzzle platformer to introduce a new mechanic as brain-bending as Portal. By equipping you with a vintage instant camera that allows you to physically bend and break objects around you to create new paths toward each level’s objective, this game gives a creative new meaning to the phrase “point and click adventure.” Despite the fact that its plot never grew as abruptly as one of its recently rattled characters, it is an inventive, perspective-based puzzle-solving tool that constantly grows over the course of the six-hour voyage and one that had me fascinated the entire time.
I hardly even know how Viewfinder came up with its original way of using trick photography to change its topography, much less properly explain it. Virtually anything you can see in the floating island landscape of each level can be photographed. Then, you can hold up that 2D image in front of another area of your surroundings and magically superimpose the image in full-scale 3D to seismically modify the environment behind it.
Explore the game Viewfinder
You could take a photograph of an open door and stick it to a wall to create a classic Looney Tunes-style passageway, or you could take a side-on picture of a bridge and tilt it towards the edge of an unreachable rooftop to create a useful ramp. The game has a clever piece of map manipulation that starts off easy but quickly scales up to a beautiful level of complexity. It’s a clever piece of map manipulation that starts off easy but quickly scales up to a beautiful level of complexity. It’s also one of those games where you’re never quite sure if the solution you come up with actually solves the problem or if it’s just a solution you came up with. I completed a late-game level by creating a maze of inverted staircases that were so challenging to manoeuvre that M.C. would have been sent flying.
Viewfinder’s Unique Technique
What’s truly amazing is how liberated and natural the photography that breaks up the landscape generally seems. I never encountered an intrusive “out of bounds” message, and none of my shot implementations that completely changed the scenery did so in a glitchy way. There are some key limitations in place, including a restriction on the number of photos you can take per level to the number of film paper sheets in your camera and a prohibition on placing any photos that would damage the level’s teleporter exit and prevent you from finishing it.
The flexibility to experiment with stacking your images on the globe at any angle is effectively unrestricted in all other cases, and the quick rewind function makes it even easier to fix any mistakes you could make. It essentially enables you to quickly jump back through your actions on each level, much like you would CTRL+Z your way back through the additional levels of a Photoshop project.
Review screens for Viewfinders
Viewfinder gradually adds new elements to the game, presenting players with progressively more challenging challenges as they employ each composition, while requiring them to use simple objects like walls and doors in their surroundings to build a path to the objective. You can use mounted cameras with timers to take a selfie, enabling you to teleport yourself across gaps or through caged walls using the resulting image. Additionally, a photocopier allows you to duplicate images and therefore clone any items in the frame, which proves useful for cloning the batteries used to power electrical circuits.
Identifying the path forward frequently means overcoming deft forced-perspective trickery masking unseen tunnels or bridges that are directly under your nose, similar to the leap of faith scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Often, no photography is necessary at all. Viewfinder rarely uses the same optical tricks for an extended period of time, and the variety of puzzles kept me focused on each assignment and inspecting each puzzle area from every perspective.
You can utilize not only the photographs you take yourself but also collect everything from famous artworks to screenshots from your computer, enlarge them, and bring them to life as you see appropriate to change the world. I found myself tripping through a pencil-drawn scene that looked like it belonged in the rotoscoped music video for the 1980s pop classic Take On Me at one point and pleased to unexpectedly fall through the bitmapped depths of a DOS-era dungeon crawler at another. (Not the ‘a-ha moment’ I was hoping for in a puzzle-based adventure.
The game’s puzzle-solving more than makes up for the underdeveloped plot in Viewfinder. My enthusiasm for the game’s mind-bending brain teasers never wavered, from the game’s captivating beginning to the climactic timed gauntlet run, which serves as a franticly enjoyable test of all the skills you’ve learned along the way. I even finished the few extra challenges, including one that was so challenging it took me around 30 minutes to figure out after several failed efforts and another hour or so of contemplation while doing dishes and walking my dog.
The pure, mind-blowing thrill of Viewfinder’s perspective-warping puzzle solving more than makes up for what the game lacks in plot depth and engaging characters. With each solved puzzle, its amazing photo-based environmental deformation not only breaks new ground but also bends and stretches it into whole new shapes and forms. It also frequently introduces game-changing elements that made me constantly think outside the frame of my images. Between each thoughtful camera snap, the voyage is continually captivating thanks to the capacity to transform into paintings and screenshots, and the rapid-rewind feature gives you the confidence to come up with original puzzle solutions without worrying about facing consequences. Viewfinder is the craziest type of photo mode, captivatingly strange and fascinating to the very end.