Find Me (PS4/PC Review)

Even though the name violates the Google Rule (seriously, go Google as many variations of “Find Me” with modifiers like “PS4” or “REVIEW” and enjoy the map it will show you of where you’re at right now. Ugh!), Find Me was an awesome choice for me to start 2022. My goal this year is to be the Chick of old. The one who did almost 500 indie reviews in her first two years. Who was so brutal in examining indies, even the ones she liked, that developers would have to breathe into paper bags just by me announcing I had started playing their game. And the key to this revival is I’m going back to my roots. What the FUCK am I doing writing a four-part review for a game that sold six million copies? Why the FUCK is Indie Goddamned Gamer Chick playing sixteen-year-old Shadow of the Colossus.. FOR WEEKS.. and then doing some kind of masturbatory love-letter to it? What happened to the old Cathy? The one made jokes about lighting farts on fire while playing Xbox Avatar games she found next to the latest app that turns your Xbox controller into a vibrator?

Oh, excuse.. massage app. Sure, boss. Whatever gets you past the Evil Checklist. Wink.

“So many different ways to bludgeon a person!”

No, I’m going to mostly focus mostly on small, under-the-radar games that don’t have huge marketing campaigns. The type of stuff that feels like it would have been listed alongside those damn Avatar games and Controller-to-Dildo applications on XBLIG. Yea, that’s where *I* belong. I’m going to cuss and rant and rave and light my farts on fire. I’m throwing up both middle fingers. The Chick is back, bitches!

Oh my god, that was beautiful.

(WIPES TEARS)

Ahem.

Man, Kim Possible got really dark after I stopped watching.

Find Me will inevitably draw comparison to Limbo. That’s the fate of every game that has a shadow/silhouette, all-dark-except-the-large-soft-white-eyes protagonist. And no, it’s not an unfair comparison. If developers choose this art style, it invites that comparison. That’s just how this shit works, people. I’m so sick of hearing complaints of it from indie fans. I’ll take it a step further: I like that they look alike, because they don’t exactly play alike. Limbo’s platforming emphasis is on physics. Find Me relies more on precision. If Find Me gets an audience (and it’s not looking very likely, as it’s been out since early December but the majority of people who saw I was playing it had never heard of it) I’d have the perfect two games to explain that there IS a difference. Looking alike within the same genre isn’t playing alike.

For a seed planted at a game jam, Find Me has remarkably tight and responsive controls and some of the most intuitive jumping physics I’ve seen. That double jump? Perfect. One of the best I’ve ever seen, indie or otherwise. I’ve played games by seasoned pros who couldn’t get the movement, speed, and precision as fine-tuned as Find Me has. Sublime effort, everyone. The best thing I can say about Find Me is the controller will vanish in your hands. It’s a total non-issue, as it should be.

And it has a hell of a hook: light is lethal. Sometimes. My #1 issue with the game is a somewhat lack of consistency in that area. There’s four worlds broken into four “levels” each. In most of them, any light touching you starts to make your shadow sputter and vanish. This led to moments where you’re having to ride on top of an ambulance while avoiding lights from windows and neon signs, but the ambulance also has lights going towards the front of the cab that don’t hurt you. I only found that out when I over-jumped my target and was like “oh shit.. hey wait a second, why didn’t I bleed shadow?” Later, a level set at a space museum also has lights that don’t kill you, which made me heel-toe my way through that stage in a way that wasn’t particularly fun. It feels a bit like a GOTCHA, only instead of a death you can’t avoid, it’s not dying in a boring way that could have been avoided. So, is that a reverse-GOTCHA? An AHCTOG?

When light touches you, it’s not IMMEDIATELY lethal. You don’t have a visible health meter, but you become more transparent as you get closer to dying, and the shadow that you are sort of bellows out whiffs of.. uh.. shadow blood? I guess?

But, otherwise the concept of avoiding the light works really well, and the striking visual of how taking damage looks is memorable enough. You don’t have to really worry about dying in Find Me. You have unlimited lives, and this isn’t one of those games with a death counter that quantifies your ineptitude. Invisible checkpoints are generously scattered about, you respawn quickly if you die, and the challenge scales properly. It’s super-short. The entire game can be beaten in an hour or so. It’s a quick & dirty platformer with fun set pieces, rock-solid controls (seriously, can’t stress enough how great the jumping physics are), and a really nice “run away” conclusion where you have avoid being caught by a giant monster that’s also allergic to light. Except all the times it’s not allergic to light. You know, I could swear I just went over this with the protagonist. So Find Me is consistent in its inconsistency. Ugh.

I don’t know who this chick is, but she’s into video games, loves animals, and is deeply interested in NASA. Hell, give her a Mom who says “fuck” three times on average per sentence and it could have been my life story in game form.

The finale would be the highlight of the game, but after beating it with no issue on my first attempt, I wanted to watch Find Me’s ending again. On the second play-through, the monster somehow missed a lot of the light, even though I was flipping every switch. By time I reached the finish line, the monster had the smallest fraction of health left, but not enough to kill it. So I died and reset to the previous checkpoint, which reset the monster’s health to where it had been at that point, and spent the next fifteen minutes trying to manipulate it into enough light to finish it off, but I always came-up just short and was forced to restart the whole stage. It was at that point I noticed that the physics for the monster aren’t consistent. For example, at one point, a cable made of lights will break and swing down at it, which will cause damage to the monster most of the time. But, once or twice, the cable just passed right through it, which is probably what happened to me the second play-through. Or, any number of other random-chance elements, like where a checkpoint is, which if you die in that specific spot, you don’t go back far enough to turn on a switch that activates light that causes more damage. The developers might want to go back and fine tune this a bit, because it needs work.

One thing they got right that Limbo didn’t: they saved their super-memorable chase for the ending. Maybe Limbo opening with the giant spider sequence made it a game everyone knows, but that whole segment would have worked so much better as a climax. The team behind Find Me wisely ended their game with the closest thing their adventure had to that moment. It assures everyone who finishes it will keep talking about it. Though maybe not for the right reasons, at least until they fix it.

Mind you, none of that is a deal breaker, and again, I beat it the first time without incident. In fact, I only needed roughly an hour to not only see the end credits, but get 100% of the trophies (1 Silver, 11 Golds and 1 Platinum? Yea, those trophies ain’t what they used to be, are they?). There’s sixteen hidden story elements, one per a stage, hidden in the game. Well, “hidden” being relative, as a lot of them are just RIGHT THERE along the path you’re taking. But otherwise, there’s a lot of pretty decent platforming tropes, some decent rudimentary jumping-and-hitting-switches type of puzzles, all in a fun setting. I was never bored at any point playing Find Me. It’s not a bad little platformer at all.

The white shining thing in the center there is one of the story beats, and if there’s such a thing as an object to Find Me besides just going from point A to point B, it’s finding all 16 of them. It won’t be hard, trust me.

“Sounds great? So, what’s it about?”

Well, I thought it was about drug addiction. That was my read. I’ll go ahead and spoil it, since HOLY SHIT, do I have egg on my face. I had been distracted during the opening cinematic, so I didn’t see what was actually happening. But, the person you’re trying to find is you. You’re a girl and the game is living moments of your past. Well, actually it’s just generic (but fun) platforming stuff, but the collectables reveal moments of your childhood. Adopting your first pet. Getting into video games, which leads into making a game. Going to space camp. But at one point, you see the girl in the memories being loaded into an ambulance to frame that level of the game. I didn’t see how the game started, so I was like “okay, she overdosed, and Find Me is about finding the happy, enthusiastic person she was who had all the potential in the world before getting hooked on drugs. Then, the big demon at the end is her symbolically showing resolve to get better.” This really landed with me, as that was who I was before becoming hooked on opiates in my teens (four years sober now!). The game-loving, space-enthused girl in this game could have very well been me.

Nope, I missed the part where she got hit by a car because she couldn’t pull her head up from her video game.

Whoops.

What kind of a cretin stands on top of a pinball machine? THAT’S NOT A PLATFORM! IT’S A WORK OF ART! IT’S QUINTESSENTIALLY AMERICANA! God, I hope you get hit by a car or something!

Okay, so that’s slightly less thought provoking, but thankfully I checked before writing the review, because I had gone very, very deep into how much this resonated with me, and now I’m so fucking embarrassed. Golly. My New Year’s Resolution: PAY ATTENTION, CATHY! But seriously, if you want to kill an hour with some old fashioned platforming, nothing unconventional, a dozen easy trophies for your collection, you could do a lot worse than Find Me. Short and sweet, to the point, professionally done proof-of-concept from a group of girls who have a bright future in game design if they want it. Oh and with levels by the guy who made Serious Sam Double D XXL. The jokes write themselves.

Find Me was developed by (deep breath) Girls Make Games, Team Invenio, and Mommy’s Best Games
Point of Sale: PlayStation Network, Steam

$4.99 walked into the light in the making of this review.

Find Me is Chick-Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard

IN THE INTEREST OF FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m friends with Mommy’s Best Games owner Nathan Fouts. We don’t talk regularly or anything, but I’ve known and been friends with him for ten years now. I honestly, truly had no idea he was involved in this at all until I saw the Mommy’s Best Games logo during the end credits. But you deserve to know who I’m friends with if I review their games, so I needed to disclose that.

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

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