I always found pixelated games a step back from today’s real-word graphics, so I’m not so keen on playing most of them. Finding Teddy is yet another platformer that pays tribute to the 8-bit graphics of early gaming days, but with a dark and sinister twist. I found myself completely taken aback, first with its visual simplicity, then the actual challenge of finding that darn teddy bear.
What dreams may come
The premise reminds me of how scary bedtime was for me as a child. In the game, a monster steals a little girl’s stuffed teddy bear. The little girl now has to get it back, but when she steps out her bedroom door, she is transported to a mysterious and dark world with spooky forests, gloomy caves and other places that nightmares are usually made of.
The game is point-and-click, so you basically have to tap on an area where you want the girl to go. Tapping twice doubles the girl’s movement speed, and tapping on the girl herself shows you an inventory of stuff she’s picked up along her way. These objects lie untouched on her path, and there are subtle clues that you need to pick them up for use later.
For instance, I came upon a fruit lying by the girl’s path, and I picked it up. I had no idea what it was for until after I’ve roamed around like a blind mouse in a maze. As what I later found out, the fruit is supposed to be fed to a tall creature that’s blocking the road. When fed, the creature moves out of the way and you can finally continue on in search for the teddy bear, or the monster who took it.
Follow the signs
There are several other objects like these, and their purpose remains hidden until you’re actually at the point where you can use them. Subtle arrows and visual cues help you out, but that’s about it. If you’re lost or don’t know which way to go, you can wait a few seconds after entering an area and arrows should appear to help guide your way.
The problem I have with the game is that help is too few and too far apart. There is nowhere within the game where you can ask for clues. You’ll have to wing it until help decides to come, and that needs you to be in the right place at the right time. Pretty challenging, if you ask me.
Not as cuddly as one might hope
Unfortunately, not all creatures help at your hero’s quest. Some of them actually kills her, in the most gruesome ways imaginable. I’m not sure if the hero is somewhat able to defeat these merciless monsters by using any of her stuff, so I generally just stay away from all of them until I find something to fight with. This probably is the darkest part of the game, and it is for this reason that I won’t recommend this to very young children.
In addition to the gore, playing this game requires that you have at least a decent sense of direction, and a good memory. It’s like you’re getting to know your way around town for the first time, so you know where to come back for anything that needs to be done.
I’ve played this game for a full hour with mixed emotions — excitement, utter confusion, and ultimately frustration. But — I had fun. I may not have been able to unlock all puzzles, let alone find the teddy, but I did make a considerable amount of progress — and that was enough for me.
The game can be played and saved in three separate “game memories”, so you can start a new game or load existing ones you’ve played before. I think this is great, since saving the game makes you come back to it exactly where you left off. It’s especially handy when two or more people are also playing the game on the same device, so their progress can be saved on a separate memory than yours.
I must say I’m pleasantly surprised by the game’s graphics and creative game play. It’s not something that’s found in most 8-bit platformers, which feel like they’re just newer versions of the classic, Super Mario Bros. In fact, Finding Teddy is nothing but unique, slightly weird and absolutely enthralling.