Sawbuck Gamer

Finding Teddy

Inscrutable Bear

The world of Finding Teddy is an unexpectedly cold place.

By Ryan Smith • April 1, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

Thirty seconds after I fired up Finding Teddy for the first time, the pale little girl protagonist suffered a rather gruesome death. A massive gray creature (resembling Super Mario’s Bullet Bill if drawn by Pendleton Ward) swallowed her up with a black tongue, flung her into its maw, and dissolved her into skeleton form. Don’t be fooled, in other words, by the gorgeous natural scenery, the silly singing frogs and the fly who wears a top hat—the fantastical dreamland of Finding Teddy is a grim place.

That coldness extends to the presentation of the game itself, which eschews the comforts of dialogue and written instructions, leaving you alone to parse the strange logic of the world for yourself. Like a traditional point-and-click adventure game, some puzzles are solved through trial and error with the use of found objects. Other dead ends are bypassed with your ears, as you drag a staff of sheet music from the top of the screen to play a series of notes. Usually the idea is to mimic a song heard elsewhere. As you solve more conundrums, the game records the notes you’ve learned, and eventually, you’ll have a couple of dozen at your fingertips. It’s telling that the music of Finding Teddy isn’t filled with lilting melodies but rather with a string of haunting tones that feel borrowed from the spaceship in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Never before has a girl’s quest for a missing stuffed animal felt so alien.

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11 Responses to “Inscrutable Bear”

  1. PaganPoet says:

    Is it just me, or is the trend of many of these indie-developed platformers to be ultra gruesome and violent wearing thin? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really have a problem with violence, but at this point it’s starting to get gimmicky. I suppose as long as the gameplay itself is up to par (Limbo, Super Meat Boy, etc.) I shouldn’t really complain.

    It’s part of the reason, I think, I always preferred Street Fighter to Mortal Kombat. Yes, I was an excitable preteen in the nineties whose mind was utterly blown by Sub-Zero ripping someone’s spine out, but at the end of the day, SF was just a more solid game.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

      Well, when you don’t have top-of-the-line hair-rendering engines, you have to work really hard to get people’s attention.  And nothing grabs the attention like a little of the ol’ ultraviolence.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        Especially when this country is still so uptight about the ol’ in-and-out.

        • George_Liquor says:


        • Girard says:

          Fear not, this Gameological comment just arrived to me from the NEAR FUTURE (I think it was a Disqus bug):

          “Ho-hum, ANOTHER indie game about a little big-headed protagonist being repeatedly sodomized. I don’t have a problem with sodomy, but at this point it’s wearing a little thin.”

        • PaganPoet says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus Future GS Commenter is wrong! Today’s games need MORE sodomy, not less. I can count the instances of sodomy on one fist-err, hand.

        • Girard says:

          @PaganPoet:disqus : Yes, but in the future, Aurora Boreanaz’s dreams will be true, and we’ll be positively inundated with sodom-ulations to the point that they’ll be just as cliched and irritating as pointless over-the-top violence.

          It’ll get so bad, even YOU will be totally jaded toward the notion of hot ass action.

        • Thirith says:

          I hate it when games get sodom-ed down. Personally I blame the consoles.

    • hastapura says:

      Newgrounds heritage, maybe? I feel you, though; the ultra violence doesn’t seem to have any meaning in a lot of cases beyond aping the other games that did it.

  2. Brainstrain says:

    The degree to which that screenshot evokes the retro platforming zone Guild Wars 2 added today is uncanny. Too bad it’s on iThings, sounds intriguing.

  3. JL says:

    Any chance of more android games reviewed?