Framed 2 is the sequel to one of the most exciting, novel, and just plain brilliant mobile games of 2014.
It's coming to iOS later this week, so we thought now would be a good time to take a quick look at the latest pre-release build and see how it's shaping up.
Framing the story
The first Framed remains an experience quite unlike anything else we've played before or since. That fact, alongside the three year gap in between, ensures that Framed 2 avoids the usual case of sequel over-familiarity.
At heart, it's a very similar game though. As before, you're essentially rearranging the panels on a partially animated noir comic book to affect the outcome for a shady (in more ways than one) man-on-the run.
For example, our protagonist might be dragged down by a viscious dog in the process of running along an extended boardwalk. You might save his bacon by dropping the panel with a scalable fence in a little earlier.
Picture the scene
The interface is familiar, then, but Loveshack has refined the formula.
Framed 2's puzzles seem more varied and adventurous from the off, with numerous cases where you have to smartly reuse panels, or even rotate them to alter the hero's path.
One particularly satisfying puzzle during my time with the game required the intricate shuffling and reshuffling of several coloured doors, with the guard placement shifting subtly in between frames so as to suggest a path.
There are also sections that required you to use the drag and drop panel system to type in codes - hardly ground-breaking, but it serves to break up the action nicely.
Other than its more inventive puzzles, Framed 2's biggest improvement relates to a considerable leap in visual fidelity.
There's a much richer and more detailed world on display here than the simple block-colours of the original, with greater incidental detail such as beautifully rippling water.
Combined with the early introduction of a second character and the odd split perspective, it all feels like a more cinematic experience than the original.
It remains to be seen if Framed 2 can sustain its brilliance like the original managed, but early signs are positive. We'll be swapping around a few panels of time for a full review later in the week.