The noir setting has always felt very interesting to me. I’m not sure if it is because of the cool looking outfits or the funky music, but games that have noir theme always appeal to me. Fast forward from the 1950’s to the present and we have Framed which is a noir puzzle adventure game and one of the best Android and iOS games I have played in a long time. There is no menu screen. There are no loading screens. There is only the chase.
The idea behind Framed is simple. The entire game is split into a variety comic book panels and a mysterious person is running away from the police carrying a briefcase. It your job to rearrange those panels to help this mysterious hero/villain avoid capture. So what are the correct order of events? Where is this enigmatic stranger going? What is in that briefcase? All answers that can be found within Framed’s pages.
At its heart though, Framed is a puzzle game. You are tasked with finding the correct order for each panel so that you may progress to the next screen. However, the way Framed pulls this off is marvelous. Our hat wearing, briefcase toting protagonist is not going to stop running just so you can faff around getting things in order. No, he is going to charge into whichever the next comic panel is regardless and this will often lead to his eventual demise or capture. At the start of each screen you have the opportunity to move the panels around and can at any time restart and tinker with the order. However, while the man is running you can also move panels on the fly and it is these moments that are excellent. Swiping and swapping panes to avoid the police or make an impossible jump feels excellent. However, I wish the entire game was like this. The game loses its sense of urgency when you can sit and think about the order for as long as you wish. Even if it just had a timer for you to play with order before the run begins it would be more thrilling. Although this does not stop the game being great, but it could have made it truly stellar.
The puzzles are some of the best I’ve experienced in a long time as well. You might need to match the right the corridors our escapee runs down in order to avoid or knock out the police. You could be ensuring rooftop jumps are successful. You may even be finding the best way to come out on top of a fist fight. Framed really has it all, and all it’s all brilliant.
The artwork and the soundtrack really do nail the setting. The jazzy tones and silhouetted characters do an excellent job of immersing you in the world. Splitting the game into different screens transports you into the Framed comic book world. It feels like a film about a comic book adventure that is really a game. And that is Framed. It is a really cheap, really awesome tablet and phone game. If you enjoy puzzle games, the noir genre or are looking for an exceptional game to play on go, then look no further as Frame has you covered.
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