Hey gang, Valkor here. My very first 2D, open world, side-scroller was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. And even till today I still enjoy diving back into that world when I get the chance. Last round, in GameView, I had the chance to tackle “Castle in the Darkness”, which plays in a similar fashion and has won my praise. And next up on the TOV chopping block is “Finding Teddy 2”, which plays similar to the previously mentioned titles, bringing along a few twists of its own.
The previous Finding Teddy was a point and click adventure; but this next iteration departs its original format for an open world, 2D environment with emphasis on exploration. Finding Teddy 2 finds a young girl named Tarrant entering and exploring a vast world; the start of her adventure begins out and inside a castle, leading into a library where you must find four books to access other worlds. To make it through you’ll need the use of your listening skills to recognize audio bits that will help you locate items or to unlock/open chests and doors. And this is the most fascinating aspect of the game; you’ll find a handful of these runes, which represent a specific musical note. These notes translate into text that you’ll use to speak with other characters or interact with your environment. And you’ll learn new words, expanding your musical vocabulary. Plus these little guys will give you hints on how to use them. The listening also kicks in when you hear a particular note and depending on your location, it can sound like it’s far in the distance or if it’s in your vicinity. Once the sound becomes clearly audible, you then have to repeat the clip using your runes to perform an action. The most common use of this technique is getting fireflies to appear but it’s also used to open giant golden chests that will give Tarra new abilities.
Musical speak isn’t the only technique you’ll learn and as you explore further into the game, you’ll discover items that will expand your repertoire. And once you unlock your abilities, you can backtrack into areas you’ve previously explored to explore it once again to explore areas that you couldn’t reach. For example you’ll find a rubber tube that will give you access to water (since Tarra can’t swim) or a blue orb, which will fill in these blue squares, allowing you access to those areas.
But don’t assume your journey will be easy as there are enemies and environmental hazards that also stand in your way. Thankfully you start off with a sword and shield to protect/defend yourself; after killing an enemy, breaking a vase or opening chests, you’ll collect marbles, which acts as in-game currency that you can use to buy equipment upgrades, boost your health, or even rescue you from death; if you lose all of your energy, you’ll lose a buttload of marbles. Thankfully the game allows you to deposit whatever marbles you’ve found towards an item of your choosing. This helps because some of these items are pretty pricey and while you might not be able to afford it right away, you’ll eventually get there.
Finding Teddy 2 is all about exploration; the game doesn’t really hold your hand on where exactly you should go – there isn’t even a map! But once you get going, it’s not at all difficult to figure out what you’ll need to do. Finding Teddy 2 also treads some familiar ground; most notably is Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and also Abe’s Oddysee, where you can use your unique speech to speak with certain characters. It’s an interesting take on a title that also requires a lot of patience. Why? We’ll find out in the TOV Breakdown.
Finding Teddy 2 is a fun and unique game that offers hours of exploration and fun; the fun kicks in once you start piecing things together and it feels good when you can figure these things out on your own rather than having the game hold you by the hand. The controls are tight and Tarra, while she doesn’t have an amazing amount of moves, what moves she does have are responsive and fluid. The graphics offer up that blocky 8Bit look on the characters with a 16Bit look for most of the backdrops; put it all together and the game looks amazing, offering up solid, bold colors and sweet animation in the backdrops and enemy movements. The music doesn’t play on every level, but when it does its soft, ambient and very mellow. And the even the sound effects are nice. Finding Teddy 2 is in no way disappointing and if you have the patience, you’ll find something special…
…And that’s if you have the patience. I do, but it only stretches so far and this game truly tests your limits. My major concern with the title is the lack of a map. I get it, the game doesn’t wanna hold your hand and it is way more enjoyable when you have to figure things out on your own. But what sucks is the backtracking into previously explored areas over and over again and then trying to remember if the way you’re going is where you need to go, which then gets frustrating when you discover that the way you’re going is the wrong way. There’ve been many moments where I’ve set the controller down and called it a night. I understand that if you have a map, it might quicken playtime, but being able to recheck your location and direction would help immensely. And the map doesn’t have to be detailed such as revealing secret areas and such, just enough to get you going in the right direction.
My gripes aside, “Finding Teddy 2” have some addicting and fun qualities with its high level of exploration and discovery. It’s not easy to get into at first, but over time the title starts to grow on you and you’ll be traversing the game’s vast locales in no time. Solid controls, awesome graphics and a smooth soundtrack makes Finding Teddy 2 a title worth checking out. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give the title a 3.5.