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FRAMED 2 – noir puzzler returns with slick sequel

If the original FRAMED was proof of concept, then FRAMED 2 is the final product, fully and gloriously realized.

Price: $5/5
Version: 1.0.0
Size: 351 MB
Developer: Loveshack Entertainment
Platform: iPhone & iPad


Update! FRAMED 2 was the follow-up to multi-award winning FRAMED – it provided exactly the same kind of thing, which, well, was exactly what we wanted. But is it still exactly the same, or is there more to the game in the 3 years that have passed since our original review?

So what’s new? Well, nothing, really. It is, in fact, exactly the same. Aside from a few bug fixes and an upgrade for iPhone XS and XS Max, it’s gone really quiet on the developer’s front. That’s not a bad thing for a game – you wouldn’t really expect any updates, though some devs add extra levels – but it’s always useful to update this space with any sequel news or other games they’ve done. Sadly, Loveshack appears to have fizzled out. Still, they may still come back and surprise us at some point, or else simply preserve their legacy with the two great FRAMED games – of which you can pick up both in a collection for a little cheaper if you’ve never played either before.

Revised rating: Unchanged, but still great. ★★★★★


Our original review, written in July 2017, is presented in its entirety below.

When the game FRAMED was released at the end of 2014, it set the mobile gaming world alight due to the fact that a whole six years after the birth of the App Store (and modern mobile gaming’s defacto inception,) a game was still able to entirely reinvent a genre. Because FRAMED really is a puzzle game unlike no other.

FRAMED (and its sequel) uses comic book-style panels, and a film noir tone to tell the tale of, essentially, a much sought-after briefcase. The mechanics involve a series of movable panels, each telling a portion of the scene. You have to move these around as the characters pass through. If your character needs to get onto a ledge or avoid an armed guard, you have to figure out a way to put the panels in an order that assists them. It gets harder when you have to dynamically move them multiple times to reach your goal as the scene plays out.

Some of the puzzles start simply, but some panels need to be moved multiple times

The sequel does largely the same, which is great, as it doesn’t stray too far from the successes of the original – but it’s still miles ahead of its predecessor. The main criticism with the original was that it was far too short. But for a new title, it makes sense for the developers to test the waters. But now with more resources, everything’s gone big. There are neat cut-scenes, more inventive puzzles, and a larger narrative which introduces a partner to your main character. These puzzles, in particular, are great because you have to ensure both end up in certain places at different times. The art style is also more varied, while the character animation and movement between levels are of the highest caliber.

There are plenty of cut scenes which help to tell the minimalistic story

It’s also far, far longer. Not only has the developer been able to provide more of the same in terms of gameplay, they’ve successfully rewarded a returning audience with more actual gameplay.

Despite the original game not being much cheaper than this sequel, we’d still recommend you check that out first. In retrospect, it feels like a tutorial to FRAMED 2 as the main game, because this sequel doesn’t hold back. There isn’t much in the way of instruction, and it throws you in at the deep end.

As the game progresses, more panels are often added

So, now we’ve finished talking it up, what would be on our wishlist for FRAMED 3? A little more direct narrative would be a suitable progression. Though it’s very much its style to keep its characters as silhouettes, we’d be interested to see if they could develop the comic book angle and broaden a story that includes some text – this tale does start to get a bit stale by the end of this sequel, but not enough to dampen the impact of what’s becoming one of the most important series on iOS.

As with any good comic book, panels come in all shapes and sizes. They can also affect the pacing too – this one is particularly difficult to keep up with as you move panels dynamically.