Back in 2014 when Framed released to critical acclaim, I had some fairly fundamental problems which prevented me from enjoying it. A game about rearranging the order of motion comic frames so that events happened in differing orders and produced different outcomes, my biggest issue with the game was how often puzzles were unclearly presented. Often it was impossible to look at the pieces of a puzzle, reliably see what would happen if the order was switched and predict the outcome of a choice made in the game.
Often puzzles needed experimentation and brute force before their constituent parts could be fully understood, with puzzles impossible to reason out complete correctly on a first attempt, and that left me feeling let down by much of Framed.
So, does Framed 2 fix that core complaint? Not really. While the PAX Australia demo for the game introduces multiple new mechanics for interacting with comic panels, that core trial and error necessity remains.
So, what’s immediately new? Some comic panels can now be rotated and other panels can be moved mid way through a sequence so that the character passes through a frame more than once. Neither of these new mechanics is well explained, with no obvious indicator which panels can and can’t be rotated and a lack of instruction on the fact you can move a panel sometimes, but not always, mid playthrough.
Unfortunately, in my fifteen minutes with the game, I found myself mainly making progress by trial and error. Poorly presented panels made it unclear which areas were progressable through and why and some panels failed to give enough information to make sense of direction and locations.
I really wish I enjoyed Framed 2 more, the first game was so well received that I really feel like I’m missing out. I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s style over trial and error based substance.