I’m always impressed when I find a really great game on a smartphone that feels like it’s really been handcrafted for the platform. Most of the games I play on smartphones feel like they’re console game imitations, unaware of their own limitations or grossly ignoring them.
That’s what makes Finding Teddy such a joy for me. This is one of those rare Android games that’s not only excellent and tons of fun to play, but truly built from the ground up for a mobile platform. In every sense of the word, this is a smartphone experience. But that doesn’t mean it feels small — in fact, I’d argue the opposite.
Frankly speaking, this is a simple and obvious story: A girl is journeying into a world full of monsters to try and bring back her tragically stolen teddy bear.
Finding Teddy is a beautiful and unique experience.
The execution of the game is where it sings. Instead of this being a crazy Infinity Blade meets Sucker Punch sort of game where the girl goes crazy and takes on a bunch of monsters, this is perhaps the opposite. Finding Teddy is a point-and-click game with 8-bit style graphics, each one of them purposefully designed bit by bit by the developer.
It’s actually an incredible style, one that shines on high-resolution displays. Curiously, the game doesn’t run on low-resolution displays like 320×240, possibly because the amount of pixels required to make 8-bit an art form is absurdly high.
The game goes through a variety of environments.
And that’s really what Finding Teddy is: Finding Teddy is pure art. It’s a game executed with a rare and meticulous eye for detail that most game developers don’t have the same flair for. This is something nicer.
Now, this is obviously still 8-bit. Nobody is going to claim that the graphics are blow-away or anything like that. But it reminds me of Wind Waker for Gamecube. It’s a game that uses much less of the system’s graphical power than it should, but it does so in the name of style.
Simple is the wrong word. Understated is more apt.
This also has the added benefit of making it more like your phone can get in on the action too. It requires Android 2.3.3 and up, and I’m betting if your phone can run Gingerbread, it can run this.
Finding Teddy capitalizes on the sort of gameplay that also made those old 2D Zelda games famous, while I’m on that topic. It utilizes a top-down view so users can get a look at the entire area with ease. If you want to move from one area to another, just tap on that corner of the screen and the girl goes in that direction.
The game is filled with riddles and puzzles.
Some elements are interactive. You’ll just tap on them to complete an action. Similarly, your personal inventory can be accessed by tapping the girl and then selecting (or touching and dragging) an item. As you meet a couple more characters (no spoilers!), you’ll be able to incorporate them in similar ways.
The items you carry in your inventory help you survive.
The game uses riddles, some of which are infuriatingly difficult, and long journeys to keep you entertained. How long is this going to take you to complete? Well, I haven’t finished it yet, so I can’t quite say, but the developers say it’s three chapters with dozens of riddles and multiple side quests. I’m sure you can do the math.
Beyond that, talking about how Finding Teddy looks like old technology doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t take advantage of obvious and necessary advancements. Your game automatically saves. If you die, you can start from your last load point. So although the game is challenging, its thoughtful adaption of modern elements and expectations means that it’s never cumbersome.
In short, Finding Teddy is the sort of game I wish I got to play on Android more often. It’s not using the full power of high end smartphones, but it also feels like a big experience designed for the small screen. Games designed with this level of care are the ones that leave the most impact. Finding Teddy is well worth your time and money.