Behind the Frame – The Finest Scenery review (PS4)

Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery was developed by Silver Lining Studio and is being published by Akupara Games. After an earlier release on PC and mobile platforms, it can now also be enjoyed on the Switch and PlayStation 4 – we tested it on the latter.

Described as a piece of “interactive fiction”, Behind the Frame is one of those games that walks the fine line between videogames and art. For art to be the central theme to the experience is therefore only fitting, as the story is about a young artist hoping to complete her submission to the New York Gallery. In a short (feature length) narrative, you’ll explore a slice of her life in which she lives next to another artist – which whom she shares an awkward relationship.

Despite the short running time, Behind the Frame is divided up into six chapters, and features plenty of non-interactive cinematics and dialogue you can’t control. Interactivity certainly isn’t at the forefront here, and one briefly comes into play when you have a small puzzle to complete or a moment where you can let out your artistic side by painting a little. It would feel like a stretch to call this a puzzle adventure though, as puzzle fans will be left unsatisfied by what’s on offer here – all of the challenges are very casual in nature.

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The audiovisual presentation of the game is absolutely stunning though, which animations that remind you of Studio Ghibli’s work in terms of style and attention to detail and emotion. That emotional tone is also set through an excellent soundtrack, with melodies that play inside your apartment that perfectly complement the story that is being laid out.

With such limited interactivity, however, we’re not sure that PlayStation is the best format for the game. If you can play on a mobile system or with a Switch in handheld mode, then you’ll be able to use the touchscreen for brush strokes, making for a more immersive experience that’s also fitting with the art theme. Because replay value is limited, that would be our recommended way to play this one. It’s gorgeous and extremely worthwhile to experience, despite its (intended) limitations as a game.

Score: 7.4/10

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