Behind The Frame: The Finest Scenery highlights so many hipster characteristics that I was expecting to see a peripheral character with a man bun spurt out a monologue on how heavenly vegan cheese is. It is, by the way.
A lifestyle that stylises every single aspect, without a care in the world other than getting a painting complete for an exhibition, you play an artist as she looks for inspiration around her Architect Digest’s wankfest of an apartment, casually taking her time to pause for a coffee, listen to music on her cassette player and stare out the window as if time really is a high concept that was trending on the socials.
Any malice in those words comes from envy. This is the life. Care-free, do as you please, answer to nobody but yourself. When you look around her IKEA-inspired digs with hanging plants and vintage signboards, you just know that this lady is cool.
Behind The Frame: The Finest Scenery Review
Behind The Frame: The Finest Scenery isn’t remotely pretentious, though. It isn’t about selfies and close-ups of avocado on toast (I’m not having a go, just going with some cliches) – she’s an artist through and through and to create this inspirational masterpiece, she needs stimulus; and most importantly, choosing the right colours for the job. The problem is, she only has yellow to begin with, so to unlock a broader spectrum, you interact with your environment and play a little bit of the voyeur.
Fear not, Silver Lining Studio, Akupara Games, and Akatsuki Taiwan Inc’s title isn’t NSFW. Besides, she’s regularly peeking at an old man across the street who seemingly has an abundance of his own talent. She somehow connects with the stranger, despite him ignoring her salutations every morning. The same can’t be said about his bastard cat, which is also a muse. It does typical cat things of knocking stuff over, being destructive and leaving the toilet seat up. Until you find the puzzle pieces it leaves you…
The kitty will point you towards jigsaw-like puzzles in the form of an art piece you’ve seen somewhere before in the apartment. With a 360º pivot, you can look around and interact with elements that might resemble a clue or find out about her as a person through her collection of concert tickets and family photographs. You can’t move forward but interact with a few items, such as the playlist, breakfast and a brew.
Let’s Build A Happy Little Cloud
Art can be interacted with, and you’ll dabble with her opus and a few other paintings, splashing a bit of colour with the mouse, plus some sketching too. If you paint the wrong colour, she’ll just say it’s wrong, and the colour will undo until correct. After a brief pause of reflection, a new story segment and the next puzzle will unlock, as will a new colour for your palette.
All interactions in Behind The Frame: The Finest Scenery are intuitive and straightforward. I played this with my four-year-old, and within seconds she was making herself breakfast and filling in the base colours on the canvas. Some storytelling on my part was required as it’s all text-based with no voice acting other than “ahs” and “ohs”, and what-not. The lack of a voice acting track isn’t a negative as the musical composition accompanying the experience is beautiful. Can I say inspirational?
Art is subjective, but it’s nice to have a good-looking game about art and naturally, Behind The Frame: The Finest Scenery excels at that. The animations, illustrations and choice of colours are absolutely stunning. Everybody else will say it, so I’ll jump on the bandwagon – it has a Ghibli charm to it. However, you might draw your comparisons to those hip-hop study playlists on YouTube. Surely you’ve seen them? If not, go check out the LoFi Girl channel.
By the hour or so conclusion, I genuinely felt something – almost goosebumps. I won’t spoil it, but it was an experience that was pitched to anyone who’d listen.
As for this game and whether I can recommend it, wholeheartedly. It’s not a conventional game – it’s suggested in the synopsis – so don’t expect lots of freedom and a title that will be a 40+ experience. There is an emphasis on experience as this emits so much charm with a timeless feel to it. Even sitting through the credits was a delight. I just wished that the artist was a bit more prolific, and we could get a few more chapters.
And sorry to all you hipsters. I’m just jealous of your lifestyle.