With so many games these days being sequels in a franchise or ideas replicated from other games, it is refreshing to see a game that is truly innovative. The Gardens Between is one of these rare specimens of innovation in gaming. At it’s core, The Gardens Between is a puzzle game. What it does with the use of time makes it unique. Beautiful art, music and sound effects combine with the distinctive gameplay make The Gardens Between a game you do not want to miss.
The Gardens Between uses the ability to stop objects in time to create an interesting way to solve puzzles.
At it’s core, The Gardens Between, is a puzzle game where the two characters navigate through various levels that represent their time shared together. You have to get from to the end of each level and use a lit latern to advance to the next one. The path through each level is more or less linear, but not in a bad way. As you move forward through a level, certain items in the sorrounding area will move along a determined path. As you move backwards, these items will move backwards as well along the same determind path. By ringing chimes and bells, you can either stop time and move one object independently of everything else, or cause an object to behave differently. This games really makes you think about where the items have to move to when time is stopped so you can progress.
It had been a while since I played a game that has challenging puzzles that provoke thought like The Gardens Between does. Thankfully, the puzzles are more than find the dog shaped stone and place it in the dog shaped hole, or pedestrian challenges like that. Instead, they make you look at the big picture and keep a close eye on little details. The puzzles weren’t necessarily difficult, rather they take some time to go forward and backward in time in to see where objects are in the timeline. I will admit, there a few of them that took me close to half an hour to complete. I am glad the levels were challenging because of the satisfaction I received after completing one. It also made me excited for the next level.
The levels remind me of Rube Goldberg machines that utilize the ability to stop time to comeplete.
The artwork in The Gardens Between is what caught my eye initially. I really like the use of vibrant colors and stylized graphics. I think the art work and colors compliment each other well to create an unconventional setting. The artistry makes the linear nature of the game interesting as the characters weave through each rotating level. The levels are grouped into categories that each have their own color tones. The changes in pallete keeps the game from getting stale as you progress. The music and sound effects blend in with the levels well, even offering clues as to what you need to do on some levels.
Overall, The Gardens Between is a fantastic game. From the first level, I was hooked and couldn’t wait to play it all the way through. In fact, I enjoyed ot so much that I purchased to play on my Switch even though I already had it on PC. It is one of the games that has brought me the most enjoyment in the last year. With short levels, it will is a good addtion to any Switch library as you are able to play it on the go. Reagrdless of the platform you choose, I highly recommend The Gardens Between and give it a 4.75/5.