The Gardens Between | A KGK Review
This game surprised me. I was expecting a very cheap game as it didn’t look that impressive or sound that impressive. However I was wrong about all that. I was extremely impressed with pretty much everything about this game. From its story to its mood I feel like this game deserves a try or deserves to be played through once. The game is mainly about solving puzzles and I liked that a lot about the game. It got me thinking about the levels I was completing.
Story The games story takes place around two individuals. A boy called Frendt and a girl called Arina. The story is a real touching one as it is about two friends adventures together. What this achieves is a sort of nostalgia for pretty much anyone can relate too. The way the story is designed is that the levels you complete unlock different parts of memories of adventures. I thought this was smart as it engages the player to keep playing to unlock every part to see what that memory was about. The story definitely touched my heart at the very end realizing what all these memories were about and why you were working towards the end game.
Gameplay The gameplay here in this little indie game is truly impressive. The mechanics in this game are truly impressive. Each level allows you to follow the characters around a pre-made level. The aim of each level is to get a lantern held by Arina to a special made pedestal at the end to trigger the end. Frendt has the ability to interact with time totems and bells around each map. The time totems allow you to move time forward opening new path ways and reverse time to change the paths further. This may seem simple but the one thing I was not counting on was the time control ability you have. This ability turns a dull adventure into a time puzzle. This makes it interesting to the point that I felt like I wanted to see what every level had in it. It doesn’t stop there either. There are plants allow you to gain light for the lantern Arina carries but there are some that swallow that light and take it off you. There are bells around the levels which allow you to open or close the flowers. This adds to the puzzle solving elements and it is really well done. It is as if you can tell each detail in the level was done with meaning and has a reason behind it. But with the puzzles I didn’t find myself frustrated with them when I couldn’t do some of them. The music in the background is extremely calming and It reminded me of the game What remains of Edith Finch. The things that hooked me the most were the very clever level designs. Each level had something special to do with the memory that you were trying to unlock. Like my favorite level has to be the one where you had to enter in a numbered code on a key bad to unlock a little mini game which allowed you to bring items from the mini game into the level. This for me was a really cool gimmick. The fact that no words are spoken either allows the player to interpret whatever is going on in their own special way which is a brave move. But this also elevates the experience for me as it makes it different for every person who plays it.
Music and atmosphere Each level is set up in a nice calm way. There is no indication that you need to rush the game. You enjoy it more I think if you take the game slowly and look at the environments and listen to the music. The environments are all incredibly well made to fit the memory you are trying to reveal. The music is also extremely chilled out music which helps create the take it slow and easy atmosphere the game gives out. Final Verdict As a fan of little indie games like this one I will honestly say that I would buy this game. Because there is something about little indie games like this that big AAA games just can’t compete with. For example, the story is a bit confusing to start with but by the end it almost had me in tears as it finished on a high note for me. Games like this somehow trigger emotions a lot easier than big AAA games like Call of Duty or Spiderman. If you are a fan of unique mechanics that work really well and get you thinking then this game is for you because this game has the best time travel mechanics for a game I have ever played. Plus, the fact you can interact with objects in the environment which is a bonus. I would buy this game if you liked games like What remains of Edith Finch.