Review: Framed Collection (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, July 27, 2018

Review: Framed Collection (Switch)

by Sairus Delaney

It’s a rare thing when a truly unique game comes along, but the Framed Collection definitely stands out from the crowd.

The Framed Collection’s two titles, Framed and Framed 2 hold the the kind of bizarre premise that can only really be told in a video game. Every stage of the game is presented as a comic book page made up of several distinct panels. By default, all the pages depict a bad end for the main character, but the player can rearrange the panels to ensure they come out on top. Initially a page might show the hero being shot, but after some consideration you could rearrange things so the shooter tries to fire before they load bullets into their gun, giving the hero a chance to escape. Chase sequences can get especially tricky as you rearrange dozens of doors and corridors so the hero can avoid the police.

This could be quite a difficult concept to grasp if it was handled badly, but Framed is a beautiful example of explaining a concept without words. Aside from the menus and credits, there is no text in Framed at all. The comic panels are all depicted with confident silhouetted style and the game deftly increases the difficulty of its puzzles while adding in layers of new mechanics. Even when the puzzles get particularly time bending by the end of first game, the pace of learning and progress doesn’t falter.

Unfortunately, the briskness with which the game ushers you through each new puzzle does have a drawback: both titles in the collection are extremely short. I was able to complete both games in a single session of a little under four hours. I tremendously enjoyed those four hours but it’s definitely something to be aware of.

It’s also worth mentioning that while the cleverness of the basic game premise will wow almost anyone at first, it does start to wear thin by the end of the games. The basic scenario of rearranging doors and guard positions can start to feel repetitive after a while. Some very memorable puzzles do spring up throughout, but they can feel padded between overly familiar ones. Framed 2 tries to shake things up with more interesting locations and unique puzzles, but this often results in scenarios where you couldn’t possibly work out the solution to a puzzle without deliberately failing several times first.

The Framed Collection is in a difficult place. On one hand, it’s very short, and the game play that is there begins to feel dry as you reach the conclusion of each title.  On the other hand it’s gorgeous, stylish and totally original. Personally I feel that originality is worth the modest price of entry alone, but with the Framed Collection I think many folks are going to feel cheated by its length.

Final Score: 7.0

[Review code provided by the publisher]

No comments: