Finder's Cycle #1

fizzhog's picture
Game File: 

New version 1.01 uploaded August 1st 2018 - you can no longer get lost in a boring maze - apologies if you're the sort of person who enjoys getting lost in a boring maze.

I release this one with more than usual trepidation. It has ‘what was I thinking’ written all over it. Still, this is Glorious Trainwrecks – praise be!

It’ll probably take half an hour to an hour to play. Please let me know if you find any bugs.

It’s intended as the first in a cycle of games based around the same group of characters, each game coming at the story from a different angle. Not quite an episodic game but something that means I can create a fairly involved story without getting bogged down in trying to create one large game.

This particular game is inspired by playing rather a lot of HOPAs. That’s ‘Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure’ for the uninitiated – a kind of modern hidden object game that blends in elements from point and click adventures and puzzle games. It’s a casual genre that’s too often overlooked or derided. Anyway, amongst other things, this game is a rather skewed take on the HOPA genre – lacking the usual artistic talent, straightforward narrative or commercial acumen.

Move with WASD
Continue dialogue with SPACE
On object hunting screens click with LMB
On object hunting screens H key for hint if you’re stuck
On object hunting screens SPACE key to continue when all objects found
On puzzle screen drag and drop with LMB
On puzzle screen double click with LMB to rotate
On puzzle screen R key to restart – I think I’ve fixed the bugs but just in case

Made For: 


let-off-studios's picture


I could listen to the soundtrack of the puzzle stage for hours. I took a break from the puzzle just so I could take a nap with that hypnotic music box and flowing water playing in the background.

The hidden picture and puzzle segments of the game seemed so different to me that they could almost be completely different games. But the end image brought it all back together and the punch line right before the game closes certainly left me wanting to see more.

Nice work!

fizzhog's picture

Thanks for the nice comments

I'm pleased that you felt I'd managed to tie things together.

clyde's picture

I ended up quitting because

I ended up quitting because I was tired of wandering the maze for so long.
I enjoyed the hidden-object settings, I wandered around a large antique store last week and searching for coins in the shelf-spaces reminded me of the way my eyes scanned then.
I liked that the phrases felt like something I should avoid. I thought it was neat to read them as I waited for them to pass; there seemed to be a different type of reception to their meanings than if they were non-interactive or static. At one point I felt that my character was very much avoiding the question if they ever loved Father, Mother or Home as that phrase chased them down a corridor. I assume that their implementation is a very literal metaphor of avoiding thoughts. This interpretation reminded my of some of D.T. Suzuki's advice to let the thoughts come, but to just let them pass by. As I continued in the maze I was looking for some sort of overall sensibility of the phrases; I attributed them to one voice rather than many. I concluded that they all came from a particular existential appreciation of the tragedy in the mundane. It was best summed up by "The union between skepticism and yearning". I can identify with that and it is easy for me to associate it with my appreciation of wandering around antique shops.

Bugs: I think that one of the coins was hidden behind the rabbit on the picture of a large bust of a man's face and a tiny woman holding a bottle.

fizzhog's picture

Thanks for the feedback

You're right - I had made it too easy to get lost in a boring maze. I've uploaded a new version to avoid that. Perhaps you might like to give it another go so you can see the ending? I'm glad that you felt that the phrases were coherent rather than seeming random.

sergiocornaga's picture


Unfortunately(?) I have only played version 1.00 of this game as that was the one I'd already downloaded, and I chose to play during an internet outage.

This is quite a demanding game and I'm proud to have reached the end. A lot of this stems from me generally not reading the instructions and trialling many different keyboard and mouse inputs in the various sections. For instance, I took quite a while to figure out when I was supposed to be clicking hidden objects, and how I could rotate puzzle pieces (or whether I even needed to rotate them). Some things I knew exactly how to do, but they were a little frustrating for other reasons, e.g. moving through such long passageways at such a slow pace (sounds like this might no longer be an issue). I wandered for an extra long time after all the sparkles disappeared… I think the skip function might kick in 5 coins lower than it ought to? Huge thanks for including it though, as it allowed me to progress without restarting! The end puzzle seemed to register as complete before I'd slotted every single piece in, which was a little dissatisfying. The ending kind of made me think "so what?" …but perhaps that's partly the point.

Everything above seems overly critical to me (sorry!) but the things I really liked about the game are harder to put into words. The random ambient soundscape was frequently wonderful, as are each of the various art styles used (I don't think this game can be said to be lacking artistic talent). I found myself thinking a lot about the art of the maze, the fragments of words and what they might say, how much of the pixelated aesthetic was playing to the strengths and deficiencies of MMF, etc.

I am really happy to see a riff on the hidden object genre that avoids the usual conventions. As I mentioned on this site in 2012, hidden object puzzle adventures are the one genre of game my grandmother still plays. They are also the only genre my aunt still plays (she used to excel at Tomb Raider), the main genre my mother plays for relaxation (as well as conventional adventure games and the Spelunky daily challenge), and one that I play at a rate of about one per year, usually with my mother after I see her playing a particularly interesting one (past highlights include Return to Ravenhearst, which pretty much kicked off the genre, Phantasmat, where I was drawn in by recognising the background art as Lurk's work, the Subliminal Realms duology, and the amusingly ludicrous Mushroom Age). So I feel very familiar with the genre (pun intended) but often find myself craving weird or alternative hidden object games. Thanks for delivering. I'm looking forward to Finder's Cycle #2! :)