Viewfinder Review – Look at This Photograph!

As Summer starts to wind down, the Summer game’s line-up is starting to heat up. Although many gamers are looking forward to Alan Wake 2, Spider-man 2, Armored Core VI, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, Lies of P, Mortal Kombat 1, and other games this Fall, there are some Summer titles that were easy to have missed. Some key examples of games just released in July that you might have missed are Arcadian Atlas, Remnant 2, Disney Illusion Island, My Friendly Neighborhood, and even Viewfinder. Between PAX East and Summer Game Fest, we got snapshots of some of the hottest titles of 2023. Today, we revisit Viewfinder to see if the snapshot gave a clear picture or if it was a mix-mash of points to paint a false image.

Developer: Sad Owl Studios
Publisher: Thunderful Publishing
Platforms: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5
Release Date: July 18th, 2023
Players: 1
Price: $24.99 USD, 24.99 EUR / 19.99 GBP

What is Viewfinder?

Going into Viewfinder, our expectations based on the demo was that the player is in a simulated world and is looking for something but we do not know what. With it being a simulation, falling does not hurt the player. Instead, we are able to rewind time to suit our needs. Once players reach the point where the demo ended, they learn the true context of what they are looking for, a way to revitalize Earth. Within the simulation, our character and her friend are searching for a weather device created by the virtual reality’s creators.

While traveling through the different areas, players will have the choice between two options, take the direct path or try optional puzzles; the optional puzzles give players different filters to use when placing images and altering the color of the world. Color and depth of field play a massive role within Viewfinder. Within each level, the visual optics and lighting of the camera angle can make or break a shot.

Within the early levels of the game, players utilize photos and visual perspectives to help progress through the levels. Halfway through the game, players will be given a Polaroid camera to take photos with. Within each level, the camera will have a certain amount of film that can be used until it is empty.

If you make a mistake, you can always rewind and take another photo. Thankfully, no level within the game is identical, and every few levels the style of the game changes so it does not become stale. After a while with each puzzle, the game will give you a hint if you are stuck; these hints will sometimes take a bit of time and are not always the most helpful.

Positives vs Negatives

Going into Viewfinder, we weren’t expecting much. Now, this isn’t to say that we thought it would be a bad game but rather we expected it to be short and straightforward. Pleasantly, the game’s mechanics changed quite a few times throughout the game. In addition to mechanics changing, the game’s difficulty also increased.

Within each level, you need to find out what the core mechanic is in order to solve each puzzle and progress. Thankfully, none are exceptionally hard if you try to break down what it is asking. By the end of the game, all the mechanics are combined and it is up to you to find your way.

Now, combining mechanics can be a good thing, but the game does not always do the best job of explaining them. During our playthrough, the most aggravating mechanic was using the Polaroid camera to shoot through blue walls; the game does not expressly say that the camera can not pick up blue and you are left to figure out quite a bit.

The game’s core controls are fairly easy to use as well whether using a keyboard and mouse or a controller. The only problem we faced was when the controller would disconnect, the game would not always register it and it resulted in some accidents.

In Viewfinder the game has a beautiful soundtrack, the only problem is it is too relaxing. While playing through the game, we found ourselves starting to lose focus; ultimately we found out that it was because of the game’s soundtrack.

In a way, there is no real sense of urgency despite the one character frantically trying to reach the other. The only time in the game there is truly a sense of urgency is on the last level where you must escape before time runs out; sadly, this is easily negated by a setting that removes any time constraints within the level.


As previously mentioned, Viewfinder does provide controller support but that is not the only accessibility option that the game provides.

Within the accessibility tab, players can optimize the language, font size and background, photosensitivity, subtitles and their colors and positioning, haptics, and timed limitations. In fact, looking at and trying out all of these options really enhanced the game’s overall experience.

By enabling photosensitivity, we no longer had to deal with any lighting changes drastically and could just enjoy each level’s beauty and design.


Going in, we expected Viewfinder to be a solid indie game that would slide under the radar, and in a way that’s exactly what happened. This isn’t because of the game itself, but rather how many games are continuously coming out. Despite help from Summer Game Fest and Day of the Devs, there are still not enough people who have heard of Viewfinder and that is a shame.

Viewfinder is a colorful puzzle game that gives players a variety of different levels to scratch their puzzle-solving itch. In a way, the game does exactly what The Witness does but in a more narrative and linear way.

The game’s difficulty could be increased by providing more challenging puzzles rather than a lack of instructions in certain areas. Yes, it can be challenging in certain areas but once you figure out how to solve the puzzle, it can be rather satisfying.

Viewfinder is a solid game that you will most likely have a fun time playing; the main question is, do you want to pay $24.99 for three to ten hours of gameplay?

At the price point, it is worth picking up, but if you have a tight wallet and want a game with a ton of hours of gameplay, then it is better to wait until it goes on sale. Unless you hate puzzle games, you will most likely enjoy this game and enjoy the variety of puzzles.

Viewfinder was reviewed on PC (Steam) using a copy provided by Thunderful Publishing. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Viewfinder was released on July 18th, 2023 on PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.

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The Verdict: 8.5

The Good

  • Variety of thought provoking and challenging puzzles.
  • No level feels exactly the same
  • A good emotional narrative
  • Optional puzzles to add special shaders
  • Beautiful level design

The Bad

  • Clues to help with puzzles take a bit to long to be offered.
  • Game is a bit short
  • Maneuvering the object placement controls can be temperamental


Hardcore gaming enthusiast, cosplayer, streamer, Tall Anime lover (6ft 9), and a die-hard competitor. I have been a Pop-Culture Journalist since 2011 specializing in shooters, Pokemon, and RPGs.

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