Viewfinder Review – Mind-Bending Puzzles Adventure with a Unique Twist You Need to Play

Rarely does a first-person puzzle-platformer emerge with a groundbreaking mechanic that rivals the brain-teasing brilliance of Portal. Yet, Viewfinder stands proudly on that high shelf of innovation. This game introduces a captivating twist to the traditional ‘point and click adventure,’ equipping players with an old-school instant film camera. But this is no ordinary camera; it grants the power to not only capture images of the surroundings but also to manipulate them physically, creating entirely new paths towards each level’s objective. The six-hour journey is a testament to ingenuity, presenting an ever-evolving, perspective-based puzzle-solving tool that kept me captivated from start to finish.

(Image Credit: Google)

Despite its captivating gameplay, Viewfinder’s storyline doesn’t develop as sharply as its freshly snapped Polaroid pictures. Nevertheless, the game’s unique approach to transforming topography using trick photography is nothing short of brilliant. I find it difficult to comprehend how such a concept even exists, let alone fully explain it. Picture this: you can photograph virtually anything within the floating island landscapes, then hold up that 2D image in front of another part of your surroundings, seamlessly merging the shot into a full-scale 3D representation, and dramatically altering the space behind it.

This map manipulation mechanic is ingeniously executed. Early on, it may seem straightforward, but as you progress, it scales wonderfully in complexity. You’ll be constantly questioning whether the solution you’ve devised is the right one or merely one of many possibilities you’ve concocted. For instance, you might snap a photo of an open door and affix it to a wall, creating an unconventional passage, reminiscent of classic Looney Tunes antics. Or, you could tilt a side-on image of a bridge, transforming it into a handy ramp leading to an otherwise inaccessible rooftop.

Viewfinder’s levels reach impressive heights of creativity, leaving players in awe of the possibilities at their fingertips. In one late-game level, I managed to craft a mesmerizing collage of inverted staircases, seemingly impossible to navigate, yet intriguingly functional. M.C. Escher himself would have been astounded, resorting to Google Maps in a futile attempt to comprehend it.

Viewfinder’s Puzzling Photographic Playground – A Liberating and Seamless Experience

In Viewfinder, the innovative landscape-fracturing photography mechanic stands out as a remarkably liberating and seamless feature. The absence of obtrusive ‘out of bounds’ messages and the glitch-free implementation of scenery-shattering shots enhance the immersive puzzle-solving experience. Throughout the game, players are granted the freedom to experiment with capturing shots from any angle, creating a sense of boundless exploration.

(Image Credit: Google)

While there are important limitations in place to preserve the challenge, such as the finite number of photos allowed, and the prohibition of placing pictures that would disrupt level progression, players still have ample creative freedom. The ability to rewind movements swiftly, akin to a Ctrl+Z function in Photoshop, empowers players to experiment without fear of making mistakes.

Early puzzles in Viewfinder revolve around repurposing simple elements in the environment, constructing paths to the goal. As the game progresses, new elements are introduced, leading to increasingly complex challenges. The inclusion of a photocopier allows for image duplication, particularly useful for cloning essential items. Mounted cameras with timers enable the capture of selfies, granting teleportation abilities to navigate gaps and barriers.

Viewfinder ingeniously incorporates a variety of puzzle elements, from optical tricks and forced-perspective illusions to hidden tunnels and bridges. Each task presents a unique and engaging challenge, encouraging players to scrutinize every puzzle arena from multiple angles.

The evolving puzzle landscape in Viewfinder keeps players enthralled, as they navigate a photogenic playground, unveiling the intricacies of each composition. Immerse yourself in this creative and puzzle-rich adventure, and embrace the exhilarating freedom of capturing the perfect shot to unlock the secrets of Viewfinder’s mesmerizing world.

A Photographic Kaleidoscope – The Creative World of Viewfinder

In Viewfinder, the imaginative possibilities of manipulating the world through captured images extend far beyond just the images players take themselves. From iconic paintings to desktop screenshots, a diverse range of visuals can be collected and brought to life in the game’s levels, creating a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of creative ideas.

(Video Credit: PlayStation)

Players will encounter fascinating landscapes, descending through the bitmapped depths of a DOS-era dungeon crawler or stumbling upon a pencil-sketched vista reminiscent of an ’80s pop classic’s music video. The visual journey in Viewfinder is akin to peering through an ever-changing kaleidoscope of captivating and varied art styles, from Mondrian-inspired designs to children’s crayon drawings.

While some preconceived pictures may initially appear extraneous, they often prove to be either entertaining distractions or direct solutions to puzzles. Players can bring images to life, obtaining power-ups or accessing new areas based on the imagery they interact with. The delightful sense of reward extends to almost every found image, whether the outcome is practical or purely playful.

In contrast, the game’s plot centers on a future ravaged by climate change, depicted with an evocative Blade Runner 2049-esque orange hue and a scarcity of natural vegetation. The puzzles are virtual reality constructs based on the research of climate scientists, aiming to uncover a machine capable of reversing the Earth’s decline. While the premise is intriguing and timely, the storytelling is conveyed through scattered audio logs and diary entries, lacking a strong narrative thread to anchor players to the world.

Despite the disconnect between the photography theme and the post-climate-apocalypse setting, Viewfinder’s core charm lies in its mesmerizing world of creativity, where players can unleash their imagination and reshape the environment with captured images. Embrace the ever-changing landscape of Viewfinder, and discover the wonders that lie within this innovative and imaginative puzzle adventure.

Puzzling Brilliance – A Captivating Journey in Viewfinder

While Viewfinder’s plot may leave something to be desired, its exceptional puzzle-solving gameplay more than compensates for this shortcoming. From its intriguing opening moments to the thrilling climactic gauntlet, the game’s mind-bending brain teasers keep players engaged and enthralled throughout the journey.

(Image Credit: Google)

Though the comms from research partner Jessie and the feline friend add a lighthearted touch, they don’t quite reach the comedic brilliance of iconic characters like GladOS and Wheatley from the Portal series. Nevertheless, their occasional interjections do not detract from the captivating puzzle-solving experience, and players will find themselves fully absorbed in the next terrain-twisting challenge.

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Viewfinder’s main strength lies in its ingenious and diverse puzzles, making the game’s six-hour runtime a delight. Even optional challenges prove irresistible, with some requiring deep contemplation and experimentation to unveil their solutions. As players unlock new techniques and tactics, each puzzle presents a fresh and intriguing conundrum to conquer.

The game’s final timed-gauntlet run serves as a thrilling test of all the skills mastered along the journey, offering a satisfying culmination of the adventure. Viewfinder’s enchanting blend of creativity and complexity ensures players remain engaged and eager for more, making it a must-play for puzzle enthusiasts seeking a captivating and mind-expanding experience.


Viewfinder may fall short in terms of a robust storyline and compelling characters, but it more than compensates for these aspects with its sheer, mind-boggling exhilaration of perspective-warping puzzle solving. The game’s exceptional, photo-based environmental deformation doesn’t just break ground; it goes a step further by bending and stretching it into entirely new shapes and forms as you complete each puzzle. Moreover, regular introduction of game-changing parameters keeps you constantly thinking outside the frame of your shots.

The ability to transport yourself into paintings and screenshots adds an enthralling layer to the journey, capturing your attention between each meticulously planned camera capture. The rapid rewind function further encourages creative puzzle-solving without any fear of retribution for experimentation. It’s an enchanting and surreal experience, leaving players stimulated and engaged until the very end.

Viewfinder, in essence, offers the most extraordinary form of photo mode, where every snap brings sheer delight. Its captivating gameplay and innovative mechanics ensure a truly unforgettable and immersive adventure.


What is Viewfinder?

Viewfinder is a first-person puzzle-platformer game that introduces a groundbreaking mechanic involving an old-school instant film camera. In this game, players can take photos of their surroundings and physically bend and break them to create new paths and solve intricate puzzles.

How Does the Viewfinder Game Work?

Players use an instant film camera to take photos of objects and scenery within the game’s floating island landscapes. These 2D images can then be held up in front of other parts of the environment, where they are superimposed in full-scale 3D. This manipulation allows players to create new structures, bridges, and pathways to progress through the levels.

What Makes Viewfinder Puzzle-solving Unique?

Viewfinder’s puzzles are based on the manipulation of the environment using photography. Players can combine and layer their photos creatively to form complex structures and solutions, making it a perspective-based puzzle-solving experience like no other.

Are There Any Limitations to the Photography Mechanics?

While the game offers significant freedom for experimentation, there are some restrictions to maintain the challenge. Players are limited by the number of film sheets in their camera for taking photos, and they cannot place pictures that would destroy the level’s teleporter exit, preventing them from completing the level.

Are There Additional Elements Introduced in the Game?

Yes, the game introduces various new elements as players progress. These include a photocopier to duplicate images and objects, mounted cameras with timers for teleportation, and clever forced-perspective tricks hiding hidden tunnels and bridges.

Can Players Use Pre-existing Images in the Game?

Yes, players can collect and use pre-existing images in certain levels. These images range from iconic paintings to desktop screenshots and can be blown up and brought to life within the game world.

How Does the Game Handle Its Storytelling?

Viewfinder’s story is set in a future where climate change has ravaged the planet, but the plot is somewhat nebulous and delivered through out-of-sequence audio logs and diary pages. The focus of the game is primarily on the mind-bending puzzles rather than a robust narrative.

How Long is the Viewfinder Game?

The game offers around six hours of gameplay, featuring a variety of challenging puzzles and mind-bending mechanics to keep players engaged.

Is There Replay Value in Viewfinder?

While the main story takes approximately six hours to complete, the game also includes optional challenges that can provide additional gameplay and puzzle-solving experiences.

Overall, is Viewfinder Worth Playing?

Yes, Viewfinder offers a unique and mind-boggling puzzle-solving experience that captivates players with its perspective-warping mechanics. Despite its weaker storytelling elements, the game’s innovative gameplay and captivating puzzles make it a must-play for puzzle-platformer enthusiasts.

What Are the System Requirements for Viewfinder?

System Requirements
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system.
OS: Windows 10.
Processor: Intel i5-9600K / AMD Ryzen 5.
Memory: 8 GB RAM.
Graphics: GeForce GTX 970.
DirectX: Version 11.
Storage: 20 GB available space

Is Viewfinder Out Yet?

Viewfinder, a reality-bending puzzle game, will be released as a PS5 console exclusive on July 18, according to Sad Owl Studios.

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