A splash of colour, a slice of bread, and a little bit of sadness - all these make for an intriguing game, to say the least, and Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery doesn’t disappoint. From the gorgeous artwork reminiscent of Studio Ghibli to the cosy soundtrack I wouldn’t mind having on loop all day long, the puzzle-slash-interactive fiction is a breath of fresh air in an often suffocating world.
You’ll have to solve intuitive point-and-click style puzzles, sketch a grumpy old neighbor who inspires you a little bit, and handle a pesky feline furball who seems adamant to leave pawprints all over your studio.
Of course, when you top it off with a totally chill, totally low-key soundtrack serenading you in the background, it’ll make you yearn for a cup of coffee, a good book, and a cosy corner to snuggle into on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
That said, while staying in one place in the game forever does sound inviting, progressing through the game is a must - the engaging narrative will prompt you to charge forward just because what happens next is too intriguing to pass up. There’s a bit of a Groundhog Day-esque element in the first few chapters, but things escalate as you uncover more of the past - and the truth - of the world around you.
It’s short but sweet, and if there’s one complaint I have with it is that it’s probably too short - and that’s an issue only because I would have liked to stay in that surreal world a bit longer. There are no replayability options here, but it’s worth going through the chapters again just to marvel at the visuals. The imagery for each chapter is spot-on too - the game does its best to engage all the senses apart from just what you can see. The morning breeze, the pitter-patter of the rain on your window sill, the coffee brewing on the countertop, the tactile scratching of your pen on paper - all these contribute to the feels (and yes, there are a lot of feels).
The game is a quick but meaningful ride at just an hour for all six chapters, but the last scene will definitely resonate with you long after the credits roll. It’s one of those stories that leave you with a bit of an existential crisis when it ends, and honestly, those kinds of games are the best. Suffice it to say that it broke my heart in so many different ways then stitched it back up again.