Framed App Review: Making Running from the Law Cool
I mentioned in my Monument Valley Review how much I love discovering puzzle mechanics for myself, and I was deeply fortunate to find just such an opportunity with Framed. Framed is a unique puzzler that involves arranging comic-style "frames" in the correct order to allow an animated sequence of events to complete successfully. In general you are trying to navigate your protagonist around obstacles and enemies to reach a level victory condition in the last frame. The game is visually optimized for almost no user interface, and the experience of playing makes for an interesting mash up of logic puzzle and animated story.
Stepping back from the "fun" of Framed for a minute, I really have to comment on how visually pleasing it is. The concept works excellently for a mobile game, but the execution is also top notch. I'm not sure of the backend, but each "frame" is really little more than a video - which you do not directly interact with or participate in. Despite that fact, I feel very connected with the action as I analyze the scenes and watch how the protagonist progresses. The simple silhouettes and stark contrasts also give the game sort of a Dick Tracy "gentleman on the run" kind of vibe that really brings it all together. I like helping this guy run from the cops - because he looks really smooth doing it.
As I progressed deeper into the Framed levels, I found that the game fed my puzzling hunger with commensurate mechanic variation. New visual queues became available that I had to study and think through in order to translate into a logical progression. A "swivel" mechanic threw some serious wrenches into the play and cut down on my ability to "brute force" puzzles by increasing the number of possible permutations significantly. This developed into a really pleasing pacing that made level analysis just the right level of challenging, while making success feel meaningful and rewarding. All of this on top of the stylish art and animation made the game very hard to put down as I always wanted to complete "just one more level".
All told I absolutely loved Framed, and would highly recommend it.