Reviewed On: PlayStation 5
Also Available On: PC
Price: $24.99 USD – Digital Only
Developer: Sad Owl Studios
Publisher: Thunderful Publishing
Release Date: July 18, 2023

Please Note: A review code was provided by Thunderful but does not influence opinions in this review.

First Person games and me don’t normally mix well for a few reasons. Saying that; however, there are some games and genres that aren’t too bad for me to play. Puzzle titles are one of those genres that are perfectly fine with me. Sad Owl Studios did a fantastic job with the overall experience, and while it was pretty short as a whole package, it was definitely a fun ride while it lasted. A game where you are manipulating the world around you to do your bidding and help you solve both easy and semi-complex challenges that you are confronted with to figure out what happened? Welcome to Viewfinder!

Surprisingly, there was actually a story with the world that you are exploring and why you are there. You are playing a game that you think you might know what is happening, and then you get a curveball thrown at you. Happened twice for me for situations I did not see coming. This game has some nice voice acting throughout the story. There are clues and riddles that will help unravel some of the mysteries that surround the world and characters that were and are part of that world if you choose to look. I never try to tell anything about spoilers in a story, and if I said more than that, I might do just that; but it was a fairly good one. I was surprised at my interest in wanting to figure out the who, what, when, where, why, and how of this adventure. I got almost all of my questions answered, which is a good thing.

In terms of how the game plays, well it is pretty simplistic. You are trying to solve puzzles that you are confronted with in a set order, with an increasing complexity as you progress in the game. You go to different hub areas in the game where you can see objects people have left behind in the past. This is where you will access the puzzle levels. In them, there are different things you have to do such as, but not limited to, placing pictures you find in certain ways, taking pictures to manipulate the world around you, using photocopiers to duplicate photos, charge teleporters with batteries, and more throughout the game. Some of the puzzles can get long and a tad complex, while others are really straight forward and quick to figure out. I will say as a slight hit to the game, a lot of the puzzles felt like a slight copy and paste with a bit of a restructuring but not all of them felt like that. Just wish there was a tad bit more of a variety to the puzzle designs.

Of course, besides the main puzzles that unlock level by level, there are also some other things to do. One of these is optional puzzles which hit you with a tad bit more of a challenge to complete; however, some of them were a bit easier than the main levels for me. Either those made more sense to me, or they just weren’t too tough. Other things you can do include, trophy hunt with specific objects or items and find collectables that vary depending on the hub area you are currently in. Another thing you can do after you get to hub three is change the camera filter to one of the options that you can unlock in the game. There isn’t much to do in terms of “side” stuff, but I consider it a good thing when a game doesn’t throw in massive amounts of padding to extend the playtime of the title. Oh and one more thing… you can pet the cat Cait! I may or may not have petted them a lot more times than I needed to.

I already said the voice acting was nice, but what about the art, music, audio, and everything else with how it sounds/looks. First off, the art is absolutely stunning from the different styles that are used within the entire adventure. Some of the artistic styles did not sit well with me, but most of them did which was good. In terms of music and audio, most of the time it was relaxing and calm throughout most of my time. It had an heart racing tempo at the end of the game, but there was a reason for that and I liked that it wasn’t just the same calming feeling of the rest of the title. I really loved the way in which the game had audio queues for everything that it all flowed well and made me just want to daze off into the picturesque and audio bliss based world of Viewfinder.

In terms of bugs graphics, performance issues, and other annoying caveats; I really dont have a huge amount of things negative to say about the game. The game was a solid performance throughout on PS5, without any weird graphical anomalies or any crashes, which is a lot better than I can say about some other big AAA games I have played this year. In terms of annoying issues I had with it, there was only two puzzles that really made me turn and flip my brain on its side to figure them out, and the “hints” that they offered to the player for those really didn’t help all that much. The other issue I had was if you wanted to go to a specific level after you beat the game to collect objects/hunt trophies, you had to go to the specific terminal. A bit annoying once you beat it, but I am glad that you can still go back once you beat the game. Otherwise, it was a solid five hour ride throughout, plus more for trophy hunting a little bit.

What else can I say about this game? The graphics and art were great, the audio and music were good, solid performance, it had a interesting story, and pretty fun gameplay. I think any fan of a puzzle game, who doesn’t purchase this game, is either not a true fan of puzzle games or they just don’t have the money as this one is a no brainer to purchase in my opinion. If you do not like puzzle games on the other hand, there really isn’t much more to say but to purchase another game that you do like. If they came out with a physical copy for the PS5, I might just go ahead and purchase it to show my support for this title as it was a good time. Picture perfect games are not common, and this one isn’t 100% picture perfect due to the puzzle designs being too similar and a couple of small gripes, but it is definitely a solid adventure that doesn’t overstay its welcome or rushes to finish the game in any way.

Review Score: 8.5/10

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