Viewfinder is one of those games that's kind of impossible to describe in words. Here we go: it's a puzzle game where you can take photos of the world around you, and then hold up those photos and… sort of… place them in the world, so the 2D image they show becomes a new 3D object in the space? Look, I told you it was impossible—just watch this mind-bending trailer instead.
The effect Viewfinder pulls off is like some incredible videogame magic trick, and it delights me afresh every time I see it—and, it turns out, it's even more amazing when you're controlling it. Finally, for Steam's Puzzle Fest, developer Sad Owl Studios has released a free demo to try, and though it's a short slice, it's a real trip.
In just 20 minutes, Viewfinder shows off a mouth-watering amount of creativity. Messing about with the reality-warping camera is enthralling enough, but moments like a sequence where you walk through a series of pictures each in a totally different art style show how much potential the idea has.
And though the demo doesn't have much time to escalate the puzzle-solving, it gives you a powerful taste of how weird things are going to get. From turning photos upside down before placing them to make a useful object fall into your hands, to bypassing a wall by putting a photo of an open door on it, to creating your own twisting paths through thin air by placing pictures of an endlessly recursive piece of solid ground.
The potential for intricate puzzle design feels endless, but at the same time I feel like I'd have fun even if all it turns out to be is a series of maps I can futz around in. Once you get your hands on the camera to use freely, it feels like the game should immediately break—but it works seamlessly no matter what photos you take and where you place them. Like I say: it's magic.
Everyone needs to check out this demo, if only just to see the mechanic in action. Don't wait—it's only available until the end of Steam Puzzle Fest on May 1st. And why not pick yourself up a deal while you're there, too?