The FRAMED Collection is a PC port of FRAMED 1 and FRAMED 2 in one package. It brings with it all of the unique and interesting puzzle mechanics from its mobile counterparts, but also the incredibly short length of those two.
Unique and interesting puzzle mechanics. The game’s greatest strength is its unique puzzle mechanics. The player moves around panels of a comic book while the action takes place, changing up the order of events. Over the course of the game, more mechanics are introduced to make this process more interesting, such as being able to rotate the panels. The difficulty increases ever so slightly over the course of the game as a result of these added mechanics, but no puzzle ever becomes too complex.
Great soundtrack and sound design. I was a bit surprised when I first heard the game’s soundtrack, it was actually really good. Coming from a mobile game, one does not usually expect an all-original live jazz soundtrack, but FRAMED does just that and it is a joy to listen to. On top of that, the game has some excellent sound design. There are very few sound effects, but the ones that are there are crisp, clean, and do not detract from the game’s noir presentation. In fact, some of them even build on it, such as the gunshot sound effect (or lack thereof). The moment leading up to a gunshot is built up with some drums, then a loud snap when the shot is actually fired, perfectly blending itself with the background music.
Drop-off in quality between FRAMED 1 and FRAMED 2. There is very apparent drop-off in quality between the first FRAMED and its sequel, FRAMED 2. The latter seemed to focus much more on its storyline, including several longer cutscenes that the first game only had a few of. Of course, this all comes at the expense of less actual gameplay. FRAMED 2 also lacks in the gameplay department, introducing fewer new mechanics compared to the first. It mostly just reuses mechanics from the first game, but does add the occasional surprise or two for some of the levels. Standing on its own, it is not a bad game, but when compared to the first game included in the same package, the quality difference is just that noticeable.
Lack of challenging levels. Both of the FRAMED games are not all that challenging, with most of the levels being easily cleared in a couple minutes or so. I only really got stuck on one level in FRAMED 2, but managed to figure it out after five minutes or so. However, that level was also one of the more creative puzzles in the game, so I really wish there were more of those.
Really short length. Despite being a combination of two games, the FRAMED collection is surprisingly short. It took me about 50 minutes to clear FRAMED 1 and another 50 to clear its sequel, FRAMED 2. Not all of that is gameplay either, as there are several cutscenes scattered throughout the experience. In the sequel though, these cutscenes are so prevalent that I would say they represented about a fourth of the total playtime, so there is even less actual gameplay in that one. This would be fine if the story was actually interesting, but it is rather bland. I guess I should have expected this short length coming from a couple mobile ports, but I had expected a couple hours or so for the two of them. At least they are sold as a package, but even then, for a little over an hour and a half of playtime, it may not be worth it for many.
The FRAMED Collection is a fair puzzle collection overall, even with the drop off in quality between the two games. The mechanics are interesting and the soundtrack is excellent, but the game is brought down by its incredibly short length at just under two hours for the two games combined. Even so, I do recommend the game, but only slightly.
You can buy FRAMED Collection on Steam here.
I was provided a free review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.