Frank and Drake – A Unique, Beautiful, and Uncomfortable Experience.

Frank and Drake - Key Art

“The house smelled musty and damp, and a little sweet, as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long-dead cookies.” – Neil Gaiman


Frank and Drake is a modern narrative experience told from two perspectives. Players take on the two titular roles and must make important choices, solve puzzles and play minigames in this branching supernatural adventure.

Developer: Appnormals Team
Released: 20th July 2023
Price: £19.99

Platforms: Windows, Switch
Available on: Steam, eShop
Engine: Unity

Frank and Drake Screenshot - Relationship Meter


Whilst Frank and Drake does not allow the player off the rails in terms of exploration, its ‘choices matter’ narrative creates a highly branching and non-linear gameplay experience. These choices can be tracked in journals that each of the two main characters keep alongside diary entries and other notes and information. Since Frank and Drake work such different hours they communicate via post-it notes that they leave around the apartment they share. These, along with other decisions, contribute towards the state of the relationship between the pair.

Alongside pertinent narrative decisions, the players will also make choices to determine which puzzles and mini-games are presented, these range from word searches, to logic-based conundrums, stealth sections and a whole lot more with the gameplay being highly varied and creating a lot of interest. Some of the puzzles and minigames can get a bit tricky, adding an element of difficulty to the otherwise casual gameplay. When played with a keyboard and mouse the controls can feel a little clunky at times, particularly in any mini-games where speed and dexterity are important such as the aforementioned stealth section.

Frank and Drake Screenshot - Wordsearch


Frank and Drake’s narrative is delivered a day at a time, with the player taking on the role of Frank in the day and Drake at night time. It is a unique way to tell a tale and makes for an interesting story-driven experience. There is at least one important decision per character per day creating a truly branching narrative that allows for lots of replayability. The text and narration are well-written and wonderfully descriptive in places, with each of the two new roommates being uniquely personified with their own distinct characteristics, mannerisms and interests. The only criticism would be the regular use of the word ‘hobo’ which is an insensitive term at best. The overall story gets surreal fairly early on as the supernatural elements become apparent creating a lot of intrigue and encouraging the player to continue on!

Frank and Drake Screenshot - Choices Branches


Frank and Drake’s detailed illustrative art style is one of the highlights of the game. It uses fine lines and muted colour palettes with intimate and atmospheric lighting to create beautiful scenes and characters and the game has a very cinematic feel to it overall. This matches perfectly with the soundtrack which ranges from jazzy lo-fi tracks to soft bluesy numbers and gives a real sense of the game’s setting and the people with it.

Unfortunately, the jittery, flickering aesthetic of the, albeit very original, rotoscoped animation was really distracting. Similarly, the ambient sound effects such as the noise of nearby buildings, cars in the street, cicadas chirping or a malfunctioning jukebox are implemented in a way that often felt invasive and dominating. The combination of these aspects felt like a kind of sensory overload and actually made for a quite uncomfortable, even anxiety-inducing, playing experience.

Frank and Drake Screenshot - Drake at the Zoo


Frank and Drake is a fantastic example of a narrative experience with a lot of interactivity, variety and replayability. The story is engaging and suspenseful with well-rounded and interesting characters. The beautiful illustrative art style is complimented by the music which is evocative and well-suited to the game’s setting. However, whilst the overall aesthetic is very unique and distinctly stylised it may be a little offputting to anyone prone to overstimulation. Overall, I enjoyed this game’s narrative and gameplay elements which were very well constructed but I personally struggled with some aspects of the audio and visuals and was only able to play in short sessions as a result. With these warnings in mind, I’d recommend this game to fans of original, intricate and branching narrative experiences.

If you like the sound of this game you may also like these visual novel reviews:
The Wreck – Relive the Past and Alter the Present in this Emotional Visual NovelBlake: The Visual Novel – A Futuristic Thriller!Pumpkin Eater: A Disturbing Tale of Death and Decay!

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