Saturday, November 15, 2014

IOS Review #89: Framed

Title: Framed
Developer: Loveshack
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $4.99
I've been anticipating Framed for a while. It's the kind of game that encapsulates everything I look for a quality mobile experience: an interesting concept, smart use of touchscreen that goes beyond an UI cluttered with buttons and icons, a compelling aesthetic. And thankfully Framed lives up to the hype, delivering a polished puzzle game.
Yes, Framed is a puzzle game first. There's a wordless noir narrative and it's an engaging wonderfully artistic experience, but it's first and foremost about the puzzles. The concept is so simple and yet explored masterfully; a man fleeing the police through the panels of a comic, briefcase in hand, and you must rearrange the panels to change the context and help him escape. Run headlong into a cop? Order the panels so you turn a corner or climb a ladder first. There are constants - ladders and stairways make you descend or ascend when you reach them, approach police from behind to avoid them or knock them out, etc. - and new elements such as rotating panels and reusable panels add complexity. The puzzles hinge more on trial and error and experimentation than hard logic, but the trial and error in Framed is fun, due to the seamless permutations that result from different panel orders.
Framed is a short experience (my playthrough lasted around 90 minutes), but don't let that brevity dissuade you. Framed is a shining example of quality over quantity, between its atmospheric art style, jazz soundtrack, ingenious design, and challenging puzzles.

You can purchase Framed for $4.99.

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