A little girl is tucked in bed and sleeping peacefully, her teddy bear cuddled under her arm, when... something intrudes her urban surroundings and snatches away her beloved plush pal. Investigating his disappearance, the little girl encounters a fantastical world inhabited by strange creatures and other oddities. Join her Finding Teddy quest, discovering and deciphering the secrets of a magical realm, in this thoroughly enchanting point-and-click adventure from Storybird Games.
Using traditional point-and-click mechanics, tap the edges of the screen to move off stage as well as tapping to interact with characters or pick up items where possible. Once you've acquired some objects, tap the girl to open your circlet of inventory, tap the item you want to use, then tap the area where you want to try it. Later, you can touch the top of the screen to access your array of musical notes, useful in solving tone-based puzzles, a necessary part of advancing successfully in the rescue teddy endeavor. As you play through this surreal environment built with gorgeous artwork, there's much to discover, including some deadly dangers, but the game saves automatically as you progress so you're always regenerated back were you left off.
Finding Teddy is as much about entertaining your aesthetic sensibilities with remarkable artistry as challenging your logic with both conventional adventure game puzzles and auditory riddles. You'll complete a number of tasks in each of the three chapters; some will earn you new friends and a couple of traveling companions who assist in your missions. Your rewards include not only the success of overcoming obstacles, you can also unlock entries in a gallery of truly frame-worthy pictures by making it to the next stage or solving a particular puzzle, or by uncovering special orbs hidden within various scenes. The mystery of the orbs is a puzzle in and of itself, but being observant with both ears and eyes, along with a bit of thinking, you'll likely figure it out before too long. If not, at the end of the game, you can go back and try again, keeping the orbs you gathered the first time.
Analysis: Finding Teddy is an incredibly unique and thoroughly engaging creation, the result of collaboration between the talents of French developer, Storybird, and Indie game publisher, LookAtMyGame. While there is no narration—nor dialogue in the typical sense—Finding Teddy communicates its story extremely effectively through detailed imagery, animations and music. The surreal beauty coming alive so vividly and magically on your mobile device is reason alone to experience this game. While Finding Teddy is quite playable on the smaller screen, the remarkable visuals are even more lovely played on a tablet.
Since some riddles rely on sound to complete, the challenges can be difficult until you figure out the reason behind the music. There are enough logical and visual hints provided that talent in music is not requisite, but it can feel frustrating if you're hard of hearing or just not used to such riddles. Fortunately, it gets more doable as you go along and get into the rhythm and particular logic of this enchanted world. A couple rare quirks might leave you wondering if they're hiccups in the story design or some enigmatic optional puzzle. It's hard to tell but it's easy to imagine that, in building such a detail-oriented creation, the designers could overlook an edit here or there. On the other hand, in beholding such talent, it's also easy to envision the creators sneaking in an easter egg or two. Either way, extra exploration is always enjoyable.
If you love playing traditional adventure-based games or are a lover of brilliant artistic talents, this story of a little girl braving the unknown to rescue her teddy is a tremendous find. Utterly charming and replete with replay value, Finding Teddy might just cuddle up to your gamer heart and make you its everlasting friend.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.