Title: Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery
Developer: Silver Lining Studio, Akatsuki Taiwan
Release Date: August 25, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Akupara Games
Genre: Adventure, Casual, Indie
“A picture is worth 1000 words.” I’m sure everyone has heard that phrase once in their lives. And it is with that premise that we begin Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery, a point-and-click adventure-style game made by indie developer Silver Lining Studio and published by Akupara Games.
Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery begins its tale by introducing us to a young aspiring female artist as she’s on the verge of finishing the final piece of her gallery submission to the New York exhibit. It’s explained that she’s worked hard to make sure this will be a masterpiece. Still, as her painting starts to take shape, you’ll uncover an emotional narrative of chance and artistry revealed behind unrelated yet familiar moments.
As the young woman takes her brush across the canvas, she recalls a fateful meeting with a mysterious young man named J, whose identity becomes more clear throughout the story. During each of the six chapters, you’ll uncover clues and solve small puzzles with the gadgets and furniture scattered across the girl’s house. They’re all straightforward, but sometimes, without the right clues, you might get stuck, or you might end up solving one unwillingly. It’s these types of games that I enjoy as the game seemed to naturally evolve through my interactions. I certainly found the puzzles engaging to do.
Out of all the puzzles, the most challenging is where you’re required to paint specific missing spots on pictures. You see, you can’t just paint over a random corner and expect the game to accept your input. You need to take out your sketchbook, which is accessible on the bottom right of the screen, and pay close attention to how the picture looks based on the clues you’ve found, This way, you know the color and spot you’ll need to paint in. Furthermore, the game controls are well optimized for the PC. For 90% of the time, you’ll be utilizing your mouse, as there aren’t any keyboard inputs.
The game’s art style is heavily inspired by Studio Ghibli’s films, and it’s noticeable. The distinct animations made me feel I was watching a movie, and I can certainly say that the environment and soundtracks really help set the stage for the story. Each cutscene is presented with no voice acting, but rather, the movements and reactions of the characters would fill the screen, cut off by a black screen with text similar to a silent film.
The biggest issue with this experience is that it’s a little too share. Playing through all six chapters of it took me a little over an hour. Of course, if the achievements are anything to say, it is quite possible that I might’ve missed some puzzles or interactions, giving it a slight value of replayability. And hey, if you’re feeling like it, maybe you could speedrun it.
Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery is certainly a beautiful game. From its vibrant and chill atmosphere to the gameplay, I enjoyed every moment of it, which left me surprised by its short runtime. The music across all six chapters and the engaging story that sits behind every puzzle flow naturally together providing a seamless experience. For a laidback and whimsical game, Behind the Frame can bring out the artist in all of us.
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