GAME OF THE DAY
Play with time
The Gardens Between is an ingenious puzzler with real heart.
The Gardens Between
Fall Into A Surreal World
When you’re growing up, time flows differently. A summer day can stretch on for an eternity, yet an entire childhood flashes by in an instant.
This evocative puzzle game is all about exploring this bittersweet passage of time – and not just thematically: in The Gardens Between, you literally control time itself.
It begins with best friends, Arina and Frendt, huddled in their tree fort the night before Frendt’s family moves away. A storm rages outside, and when lightning strikes nearby, the duo are spirited away to a dreamlike world infused with treasured memories of their friendship.
Each stage is set on a rocky outcrop poking out of an endless sea; one mountain path winds around an old TV and game console, and another recalls a summer’s day slurping ice lollies and larking about in a paddling pool.
Our heroes move by themselves, so your role is to push time forward or backward with a swipe of your finger, tapping on interactive parts of the environment along the way. Using the time-bending tools at your disposal, the duo must light a lamp and carry it to the summit to progress to the next memory.
The puzzles are ingenious, and encourage you to think creatively about cause and effect. Early in the game, for example, you circumvent a collapsed stack of wooden blocks by rewinding time to prevent them from falling in the first place. In another, Arina jumps on a giant saw that’s stuck in a board. By moving time forward and back, you make her jump on the saw repeatedly until it breaks through the wood and falls, creating a path for Frendt.
Clever stuff, but arguably this game’s finest achievement is how the protagonists’ yearning to rewind and relive their friendship is reflected in the game’s time-hopping puzzles.
The Gardens Between is at once a phenomenal puzzle game and a moving story; once it’s over, it might even inspire you to catch up with an old friend.