Framed takes a unique concept and creates a simple, yet intricate, puzzle-game. Available from the iTunes store and Google Play, the mobile application published by Loveshack Entertainment provides an interactive plot with an intriguing premise – rearranging comic-like panels to determine the outcome for your character.
The protagonist is a crafty spy looking to avoid oblivious cops. You don’t exactly have complete control over the spy’s movements. Instead, you’re decide what panel he enters next, thus determining the either safe or dangerous pathway.
The game begins – like all comics – at the first cemented panel, as your character swiftly moves through the frame and onto the next. This is where things become interesting, because you can decide how to arrange the order of adjacent slides. After each simulation, you can drag and reposition panels depending on where you see fit.
Once you hit the “play” button, your character smoothly moves from panel to panel unless he is either caught by an officer, or successfully makes his way to the end of the level.
Things can get tricky here, however, as you must attempt to find the right order of panels that safely leads your spy to the final slide; you’re essentially trying to solve a puzzle with numerous possibilities.
Changing the position of a single panel could make or break your hero’s attempt escape – in order to access the next level you must figure out the combination of tiles that safely complete the level.
Upon wrongly arranging the tiles, the cops can catch you. Though there is a level of brutality (guns and blood), it has an animated feel, so it can’t really be classified as a “violent” game. It is completely based on a detective comic aura, as you aim to manoeuvre your avatar through the ladders and other environmental obstacles.
Framed really is quite unique. The concept is innovative which challenges your imagination, inviting you to cleverly solve interactive (and sometimes frustrating) puzzles. However, the cool soundtrack and mood alongside its particular puzzle-solving approach suggest similarities to Monument Valley – another puzzle game popular for its indie feel and optical illusions.
The game’s moody ambience and dramatic narrative is so alluring that it’s almost hypnotic. Such a clever concept comes with a huge potential that, unfortunately, this game fails to live up to.
Sure, there is variety provided in terms of game length and diversified stories. Barring that, however, playing the game can feel slightly repetitive and somewhat boring, because after a few attempts you end up mindlessly trying out different combinations rather than thinking through the particular steps.
The odds are that you’ve never played anything like Framed. The distinct genre presents a breath of fresh air in terms of mobile games, and could easily keep you occupied for a couple of hours. The concept is undoubtedly extremely creative, yet the execution is a bit of a letdown.