Even as a (virtual) war-hardened, (often wrist-cramp-related) hardship-enduring Journalist, I sometimes can't resist yodeling "Oooooo, pretty!" when I lay eyes upon particularly lush games. So it was with Finding Teddy. The invitingly colorful point-and-click adventure lured me in with adorable characters, an appealingly angular bent to its aesthetic, and a world that just screamed whimsy. Then a giant, very clearly unshaven spider leg reached out of our young heroine's closet and plucked her teddy bear into some nightmare land of unspeakable terrors. "NOPE," I bellowed. "NOPE, NOPE, NOPE." But despite the protests of a violently arachnophobic, er, myself, I continued watching.
I can definitely see a bit of Fez in the art's colors, characters, and weird obsession with trees that don't work like normal trees, but the surprising acts of violence perpetrated against a child are all Limbo. No silhouette-shrouded decapitations, thankfully, but yikes, the bit with the drill was a syringe of cringe. Not sure how I feel about that. As ever, it'll come down to whether or not the game has a good, compelling reason to put a child in those sorts of situations, but it's a fine line to walk.
Gameplay-wise, Finding Teddy sounds more traditional than either of its apparent inspirations. There are plenty of items to find and brain bone ticklers to solve, so adventuring's most well worn of staples are definitely in. There are, however, some definite intrigues to be found as well: for instance, copious musical puzzles/interactions, a total lack of dialogue, a nice range of locations rooted in both the gloriously natural and the oppressively macabre, and two side characters who explore locations the not-so-lucky little girl can't.
Finding Teddy is still an adventure at heart, but it looks to have atmosphere and personality in spades. I'll hold off on getting too exciting until I can play something (especially since I just learned that an earlier version of the game originated on iOS; strange that the Steam page doesn't mention that at all), but I at least like what I'm seeing and hearing. Well, aside from the gut-pureeing drill monsters. And the closet-dwelling spider limbs. And probably a thousand other fun-sized grotesqueries I don't know about yet.
It'll be out sometime next month.