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Fashion Model

Jordan Smith

Reviewed By:

Review Date:

25/08/21, 10:30

Behind the Frame Review

Today , we see the release of Behind The Frame, an all-new title from Silver Lining Studios Taiwan and published by Akatsuki Taiwan and Akupara Games. This Ghibli inspired game takes us on a story-driven journey through a painters life as she tries to complete the final piece for an exhibition in New York. But how enjoyable is this artists journey? Is it a pièce de resistance, or has the neighbour's pesky cat managed to get its pawprints all over it? Find out below as we explore Behind The Frame in our latest 3Bit review.

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Gameplay - Where did I put my brush?

Overall the gameplay is absolutely fantastic. Every aspect is well thought out, and each chapter fills you with a sense of wonder as you play through many unique puzzles and discover a world of art through your paintings.

Overall the gameplay of Behind The Frame is relatively simple, yet done in a way that it honestly has very little fault. In your flat's small space is a mix of Point and click moments, puzzle-solving and painting. This fantastic combination of gameplay styles makes this short game a very memorable experience. The gameplay is heavily carried by the story in Behind The Frame, but that doesn't necessarily mean it has taken the back seat, as you interact with almost everything that surrounds you, whether that is through making your breakfast at the start of the day, or if it's exploring the past within a painting, where the more profound plot points slowly unfold.


Behind the Frame's biggest gameplay element is the assortment of puzzles found within the game and the painting. While our painter is focused on her masterpiece for a New York Exhibit, we come across many other pieces in her room and beyond, which lay incomplete or missing something. As we discover clues through memories and puzzles, we realise what is missing and can complete them, further advancing the story. The painting is thankfully very forgiving, as it will correct minor mistakes once you have completed a section or erase anything done horribly wrong, which I had a knack for doing, and there were many times I would have finished the painting horribly with my art skills.

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Whilst painting is the key goal within Behind the Frame, these feel more like a peaceful reward to some of the puzzles within Behind The Frame. Whilst some puzzles are relatively simple, it was still nice to be rewarded with either a beautifully designed cutscene or a calming painting session where we can either progress our masterpiece with new colours that we have discovered or finish one of the incomplete pieces that line the room of the flat with mystery. Whilst the majority of puzzles are quite simple, I quite enjoyed that, as the game is definitely not one that is meant to stress you, but rather relax and to almost be treated like a peaceful Sunday walk, which was probably why I enjoyed this so much because I was enjoying a relaxed day myself, and the ease of completing these puzzles effortlessly felt rewarding within itself.


Overall the gameplay is absolutely fantastic. Every aspect is well thought out, and each chapter fills you with a sense of wonder as you play through many unique puzzles and discover a world of art through your paintings. Though Behind The Frame is short, it is, in my opinion for a good reason… you will not want to put it down until you have discovered the truth at the end. However, this is not just because of the seamless gameplay within the 6 chapters but for many more reasons, which you will find out more about in the rest of the review.

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Story - The Final Details

Other than the story's overall length, I honestly cannot fault Behind the Frame in any way when it comes to the story.

The story Behind the Frame is the key factor behind the entire game. In this Ghibli inspired world which plays out with an almost French cinema aesthetic, we explore the world of a young painter who is submitting her pieces to an exhibition in New York City. Her story takes her on a journey through her artwork, as she explores familiar-looking paintings that are surrounded in mystery whilst learning about her neighbour, an elderly man, who is also quite the artist and his cat. As we explore more of the woman's story, we begin to learn more about her past, her inspirations and most importantly, what all the paintings around the room mean to her, but these are all plot points that truly need to be experienced to be enjoyed, so I will not dive any further into them here.


Behind The Frame is also filled with mystery, but there is nothing sinister to them as the game's theme. No evil paintings are coming to life or a dark past to discover. Instead, Behind the Frame offers a wholesome tale from start to finish that is true to the Ghibli style that inspires it. Behind The Frame reaches out to you in a relatable sense, even if it is far off from what you do in life.

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Other than the story's overall length, I honestly cannot fault Behind the Frame in any way when it comes to the story. In many respects, it feels unfair to call Behind the Frame a short game, as the story's pacing is absolutely spot on. If this were a book, it would be more comparable to a short story when we compare this indie story to the modern AAA story game that features 16+ hours of content. All 6 chapters were well written and paired perfectly with the game's overall art design to create what I can only call a masterpiece in short storytelling.

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Graphics- A true masterpiece

I honestly could not find any flaw with how the art style within Behind The Frame. Everything was just perfect, the animated cutscenes, the fading between scenes, the way the room moved around you, the entire experience will be remembered for a long time within my collection.

The Graphical art style is another masterpiece within the game. The pastel themed world of our artist takes inspiration from the incredible Japanese Studio Ghibli. One great example of the Ghibli inspiration came from the food as we cooked fried egg and toast. It was so reminiscent of scenes from Ghibli featurettes such as Howl's Moving castle that I would have honestly believed it if this was marketed as a Ghibli game. I seriously could not believe the level of detail that went into every aspect of the game, from the foreground to the background.


But to me, it would seem that Ghibli alone isn't the only inspiration behind Behind The Frame. Another inspiration that I noticed within this beautiful game was that of classic French cinema. I got the vibe of this cinematography style throughout the game, as points of the game as our painter interacted with the neighbour and his cat through silent movie style text frames, as she sat on the window drinking coffee and through the shabby layout of her flat. The character designs also held a very unique charm to them. Though there are only a handful of characters within the whole game, each has such a flawless take to them. Both during the static cutscenes and the incredible well-animated cutscenes, you could really feel the stage of the journey each character was on.

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I honestly could not find any flaw with how the art style within Behind The Frame. Everything was just perfect, the animated cutscenes, the fading between scenes, the way the room moved around you, the entire experience will be remembered for a long time within my collection. Another noteworthy point was how well interactable objects sat with the background. The items you could interact with blended into the background images well enough to belong within the picture and remained bold enough to know that you could interact with it.

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Audio- Easy listening just got easier

. Whilst I personally would have loved to have seen some more voice acting, what Silver Lining have substituted it with has absolutely hit the nail on the head and is one of the rare occasions where minimal/no voice acting has been done right.

Whilst there is very little voice acting within Behind the Frame, what they have is perfect. Not many words are said between the range of characters, with a lot of the dialogue actually coming from our painters own thoughts, so it makes sense that what we get instead within the game is, in fact, text-based. The voice acting that is a part of the game also comes from our painter, as she expresses her thoughts out loud. Meanwhile, any other interaction is carried out in the style of a silent movie with separate frames for the speech, which made sense with the game's ending, but I will not digress on that anymore here. Whilst I personally would have loved to have seen some more voice acting, what Silver Lining have substituted it with has absolutely hit the nail on the head and is one of the rare occasions where minimal/no voice acting has been done right.

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The soundtrack, on the other hand, was very present and was incredibly enjoyable. Each chapter, you would play a cassette, which would fill your room with classical/ easy listening music, the exact kind that I would expect in a fine artist's studio. These pieces would often fade into any deeper meanings you were exploring within paintings. The composition of the game's soundtrack blends incredibly well with the overall part of the game, and not once did I think that it was a distraction from the game itself, as can be the case in other games, even as the mystery intensified and we began to uncover answers, the soundtrack was always there in the background as you would expect from a cassette player.

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Review Summary:

Overall, Behind The Frame can only be described as an Indie Masterpiece! This short but incredibly touching story will be one I remember for a long time.

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Gameplay - Where did I put my brush?

Story - The Final Details

Graphics- A true masterpiece

Audio- Easy listening just got easier

Overall, Behind The Frame can only be described as an Indie Masterpiece! This short but incredibly touching story will be one I remember for a long time. The gameplay was a lot of fun and extremely rewarding. The story pushed on in ways that you would expect, but in many ways, with its own unique twist that elevated the storytelling. With its fantastic calming soundtrack, beautiful art style and incredible choice in direction with cinematography, Behind The Frame is a very difficult game to call fault with outside of the overall completion time, which may only bother a few gamers. For me however, I am incredibly happy with the game's length, as the story was paced out perfectly, with no heavy filler pieces or overly taxing puzzles that would leave you stranded in a chapter for hours. For all of these reasons and the plot points that I, unfortunately, cannot share with you (spoilers) I have decided to award Behind The Frame 10 bits out of 10. I strongly recommend you play this wholesome masterpiece for yourself and hope that you enjoy the journey of the painter as much as I have!

Pros:

Fantastic Story

Incredible artwork

Chilled soundtrack

Rewarding gameplay

Cons:

Overall length is short

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