Home / Uncategorized / Viewfinder Review

Viewfinder Review

(Image from Steam Game Page)

Viewfinder may easily be forgotten among the magnificent, long-awaited launches of 2023. It is not a big-budget blockbuster, but rather a game in the puzzle game genre. The story element is crucial here, and the game consists mostly of visiting various locations loaded with environmental puzzles that we solve by manipulating the perspective and modifying the surroundings. We wander through a completely three-dimensional universe, looking at the pleasant, vivid sights via the protagonist’s eyes. Having said that, Viewfinder is just a respectable example of its genre. Playing with perspective, platforming features, and three-dimensional visuals are all things we’ve seen in games like Superliminal, Antichamber, Manifold Garden, and the iconic Portal. Viewfinder, on the other hand, raises the threshold established by the developers of the aforementioned titles, being a creation that is not only astounding in terms of technology, but also demonstrates how gameplay and story can compliment one other in the quest of presenting the recipient with a notion.

We receive an apparently conventional Polaroid immediately after starting the game, but it rapidly becomes clear that the images we take with it, placed on reality, modify it. A snapshot of a roof put between two distant platforms, for example, will create a bridge that will allow us to go to the other side, while an image of the sky covering a portion of the structure will remove a section of the façade, enabling us to access inside. Importantly, our acts are not irrevocable; we can always go back in time or reset the level and start over. And just when we think we’ve become acclimated to the possibilities of capturing our surroundings, the artists surprise us with new methods of modifying reality and engaging with the universe. On our journey, we may come across images, paintings, screenshots, and other objects that, when superimposed on the surrounding environment, alter its architecture and provide depth to flat surfaces. Finally, perspective manipulation is combined with teleportation, sound or electric signal manipulation, and mass. And this is only the start!

(Image from Steam Game Page)

Some of the problems may be solved in a variety of ways, sometimes even against the designers’ wishes. This is important to recognize because we are discussing a mechanically sophisticated and physically advanced process. What’s more surprising is that, despite the game’s tremendous flexibility and complicated physics, I haven’t seen any glitches that ruin the game – the game skillfully avoids this issue by alerting us when a vital part is damaged. The images are attractive to the eye and, more significantly in the case of environmental puzzle games, quite clear. What appears to be tough to perceive is simply so at the designers’ request. This very simple option most likely compensates for the high requirements of a sophisticated physics engine. And it does so quite well, because I only noticed a reduction in liquidity once throughout eight hours of play, when I boarded the wagon that travels between sites.

My main issue at first was the designers’ usage of the concept of an ecological crisis. Not because I believe in climate denial; rather, I am particularly sensitive to the catechetical-moralistic or apocalyptic tone with which certain game and other artists approach us. Viewfinder, on the other hand, does not suffer from this limitation. Climate change is merely alluded to and serves as a backdrop for a dissertation on the unique character of human nature. The desire to explore, conquer obstacles, and modify reality is shown here as part of our DNA, a deep and primitive need that we do not lose even in the face of impending defeat. This is partially stated between the lines of notes found or echoed from audio logs scattered everywhere.

(Image from Steam Game Page)

The most essential voice in this narrative, however, is the player himself, who says the most about human nature while exploring the unknown realm and hunting for answers. This urge to learn while simultaneously having pleasure drives him to act and transgress borders. In this way, the game demonstrates that if humanity is to find solutions to the most important concerns, it must rely on this intrinsic aspect of the explorer – whereas ambition, excessive stubbornness, and even scientific rigor can be a distortion of this fundamental impulse. Of course, Viewfinder has the right not to appeal to every player – it’s a specialized game that needs focus and, perhaps, a thoughtful temperament. Communicating with her is an intellectual challenge, as well as a pleasant and creative experience. However, it appears to me that even someone with entirely opposite preferences will be unable to reject Sad Owl Studios’ ability to effectively utilize and highlight the distinctiveness of the interactive medium. Viewfinder is a complete, whole, and absolutely fantastic game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *