FRAMED 2 ($4.99) by Loveshack is the sequel to the critically-acclaimed Framed, which came out during the end of 2014. If you’ve never played the original FRAMED, it’s a noir-styled puzzle game where you rearrange animated comic book panels to determine the final outcome. At the time, FRAMED was certainly a unique puzzle game, and the sequel is proving to be just as delightful.
Over the years, I’ve gone through a lot of iOS games on my iPhones, especially puzzles, and most titles take the same cookie cutter concept and run with it, just adding their own aesthetics to make it seem different. So in the crowded puzzle game marketplace, it’s hard to find games that really stand out from the rest of them, but there have been a few real gems through the years, and FRAMED was certainly one of those special gems. I fell in love with the original FRAMED when it was released (I reviewed it), so when I heard that Loveshack was releasing a sequel, I was ecstatic for its release. Now that it’s out, I can confirm that it was well worth the wait.
App Feels Like
App Feels Like
Visually, FRAMED 2 hasn’t changed too much from it’s predecessor. The game still features noir style graphic novel artwork that looks fantastic. Since it’s like a comic book, everything is rendered in 2-D, but at times it feels like 3-D because of how the panels are angled and then transition into each other. FRAMED 2 has plenty of different environments that you’ll come across, and all of the settings are incredibly detailed and even realistically textured, so it really comes to life and provides excellent contrast with the black silhouettes of the characters. Animations are buttery smooth and fluid, so watching the panels flow seamlessly into each other is never an issue and makes it feel like you’re watching a movie. To top things off, FRAMED 2 has a rather atmospheric jazz soundtrack that is fairly immersive. Unfortunately, if you aren’t a big fan of the jazzy soundtrack, there is no way to turn it off at the moment (even if your device is set to silent), so you’ll have to tolerate it for now. Once again though, Loveshack has done an excellent job in terms of the visual aesthetic of the game, as well as the music.
Like the original game, FRAMED 2 features a set of levels that blend together seamlessly, so players have to solve each puzzle before they can advance in the story. Speaking of story, the events in FRAMED 2 take place before FRAMED, so essentially, FRAMED 2 is a prequel. So if you have yet to experience FRAMED, then it might be a good idea to play FRAMED 2 first, and then jump into FRAMED to see how the complete story plays out. If you feel like going back to a previous stage to either replay it for fun or even try to find all of the collectible Polaroids, then you can access the game’s menu at any time and jump back to the level select screen. The objective of FRAMED 2 is simple: rearrange the panels in the correct order so that the characters can get from the starting panel to the ending panel safely in order to move on to the next area. It sounds easy enough, but don’t be fooled — some puzzles are trickier than others, and you will probably end up solving a few of them just through trial-and-error.
Controls in FRAMED 2 are easy enough for anyone to pick up, and it’s all done rather intuitively. The main control mechanism is the rearranging of panels, so keep your eye on the panels with slightly thicker outlines — these are the ones that you are able to move. Otherwise, if they have a super thin outline, especially the start and end panels, that means that they cannot be moved. As you start each new scene, it plays out automatically, but you can still rearrange the panels if you’re quick enough. But if the first time is a failure, the scene just stops and you can rearrange freely, and once you’re satisfied with your combination, just tap on the “Play” button to watch it unfold. If a panel can be reused and swapped again, it won't gray out. Otherwise, you're stuck and have to watch how it plays out first before trying again.
While the majority of the puzzles involve moving the panels around to find the correct sequence of events, some puzzles require extra elements to solve. For example, sometimes a panel must be rotated for you to find the proper path, or you may need to rearrange the hands on a clock. Other times you’ll want to look for patterns in the background to find hidden input codes that you need to gain access to rooms, and much more. These additional game mechanics are an interesting addition to the game, and help keep you on your toes because you’ll never know what’s going to be coming next as you unravel the story.
I recommend FRAMED 2 if you were a fan of the original game or just love a unique puzzle game with a storyline that follows the “show, don’t tell” technique.
Much like the original, FRAMED 2 is an excellent addition to anyone’s puzzle game collection. This follow-up contains the same amazing visual style as the first game, but with even more polish. The way that each scene plays out and transitions into the next is beautiful, and fully immersive. The distinctive controls and gameplay make this title a captivating experience for anyone, and there are even fun collectible Polaroids that you can find as you play, which add to the replay value, especially if you consider yourself a completionist.
While the music in the game is done well, it can be considered a flaw since it will play, regardless if you have your device on silent or not. There should be a way to turn the music off if needed, and it should respect your decision if you need silent mode on. Though some puzzles will take several tries before you figure out the solution, overall, the game is considered fairly short if you play through it all in one sitting.
I had been awaiting FRAMED 2 for a while now, and as a big fan of the first game, I must say that this follow-up does not disappoint. Even if you have not played the first game before (though now is a perfect time to), FRAMED 2 is still enjoyable because it’s a standalone story in its own right. Plus, who can resist these stylish visual effects and jazzy soundtrack? And FRAMED has always been a great mobile game since rearranging the panels is a snap with touch controls, so everything is rather responsive and easy to learn. The collectible Polaroid images extend the longevity of the game a bit, though it is still considered short by many. Still, FRAMED 2 is a nice addition to puzzle game collections.
I recommend FRAMED 2 if you were a fan of the original game or just love a unique puzzle game with a storyline that follows the “show, don’t tell” technique. You can find FRAMED 2 on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV for $4.99. There are no in-app purchases.