I spent my afternoon perusing through the indie game section of the IOS store, expecting to see a billion stupid word puzzles and match three games, there was one thing that caught my eye, and that thing was a free game called “Framed”.
Framed is a puzzle game in which you are some sort of agent that is escaping from the police with some sort of briefcase. Each level is organized into little cartoon / comic style panels you rearrange them in order to avoid; or in some cases, take out the officers to escape. The premise is hard to convey, and you really have to play it to discover what it is all about. Different panels do different things when in a certain order, and all of them are set up so that they interact differently in a different order. Things like doors and ladders are well set up so that no matter way you organize something it flows well and could be its own story. I do have one complaint about Framed, in that sometimes you don’t know how something is going to play out, and some levels require a lot of trial and error. This is semi-solved by the scenario that plays out during the beginning of each level, which helps you get a read on what needs to be fixed, but this doesn’t work as well on the longer stages. The gameplay is centered well around a gimmick for each several stages, which brings me to my first topic.
The Drip Feed
Framed does a good job of providing a steady stream of content throughout its stages, starting with the basic concepts and then moving on to things like doors and ladders, and even further on using things like hinged panels and such. Each new feature piles on a decent amount of difficulty, but it never ramped up at such a pace that I never felt swamped with difficulty. I always felt like I was keeping pace with the ever increasing difficulty.
The gameplay is set up like a comic book, and so is the art. The colors especially are reminiscent of a 70’s comic book. The animations especially are almost FMV esque, and I haven’t really seen much like it before. All of the animations are very smooth and fluid, and even though the art style is far from realistic, the animations are closer to life. But not only is the art similar to that of a 70’s noir, but the music does as well. The music is similar to that of a spy movie, and the jazz instruments remind me of the like. I really enjoy the art and music and I feel it blends well with the gameplay to create a real spy experience.
Overall, I loved my time with Framed, and with a price of exactly zero dollars, I highly recommend everyone check it out, and have a blast. With fun gameplay, and well-stylized art and music. I can easily see myself picking this game up time and time again.