Wii/Wii-U/Switch

Game Review: The Gardens Between (Switch)

We don’t usually do this, but for this game both Tali and David have played it, and decided to both write their opinions on the game.  We have done this before, but we don’t often play the same games.  So let us begin with Tali’s review.

Tali

The Gardens Between is a single player puzzle game where you control time instead of the main characters. The premise of the game is two best friends, Arina and Frendt, run away to their tree house and are transported into a mysterious realm of mini islands scattered with everyday objects.

The Voxel Agents, the developers, did a fantastic job mapping out all of the puzzles. There are some pretty tricky ones and if you do not pay attention to absolutely every minuscule detail you will miss out on how to complete the level.  I am currently playing The Gardens Between on the Nintendo Switch and have had to play on the big TV just to see some of these details. The Gardens Between is also available on the PlayStation 4 and Steam (PC & Mac).

We recently got the chance to interview with Mathew at PaxWest 2018 and I told them of my struggles on trying to pass the “The Plumbing” scene and was told that was probably the hardest puzzle of them all. I have had to put the controller down a few times – but necessarily in a bad way. I am very competitive in nature and want to, no need to beat David (he beat me this time…).

The object of each scene is to get your lit lantern to the end and place it on the altar at the end of the level. This can become quite tricky as there are orbs that steal your light, you must manipulate time again and again to ensure the lantern gets to the end of the stage lit. Sometimes you are going back to the beginning several times before you are able to succeed. I have had to start scenes over multiple times as I just didn’t get it right the first time.

The graphics for the game are extremely well done and look fantastic whether on the Switch handheld or the TV. The detail put into each of the scenes is immaculate and done with such finesse. The game runs smoothly with no lag or wait time, minus waiting for the scene to initially load – which is short compared to other games currently out. The sound is very mellow and almost meditative. It suits the game to a T. I found that the music did not interfere with the game play at all but added to the mood.

It took me about 3 hours to complete the game. Typical game play will be about 2-4 hours depending on your puzzle solving experience and eye for detail. I would say the game does not have a high replay ability as once you pass the level you know what to do, I guess the only that would drive me to play it again was the fact that it relaxes me (for the most part).

I would recommend this game to anyone that loves to solve puzzles, whether you are young or old. Overall, this game is fantastic all around and I would highly recommend to everyone to try!

David

The Gardens Between is a beautifully crafted game, and I fell totally in love with the visual effects of the game ever since I saw the first trailer for it.  Having so many games available in my Steam Library, I felt The Gardens Between would be better played on the Switch, as I love being able to play puzzle games on the go.

The controls for The Gardens Between are very simple.  Since you are playing as “Time” you go forwards or backwards in time with the left thumb-stick or D-pad buttons (I used the thumb-stick) and then you activate any usable objects with the A button.  Just a warning though, as the usable objects can be subtle and missed if you speed through time to fast, so always be on the look out for it.  I found that was an issue for me when playing the game early on, but once I realized what I was needing to activate, I was able to keep an eye out of it and it wasn’t a problem later on.

The music and sounds of The Gardens Between was one area of the game where it really brought it all together.  The music was simply amazing and tied everything together, yet it was subtle enough that you might not even notice it was there.  I love games that have music like that, they add to the experience but are not so front and center to take over the gameplay.

The puzzle’s for The Gardens Between are what really make this game fun.  By playing as ‘Time’ you have a profound ability to affect different aspects of each level, and in doing so sometimes you need to go through the entire level before rewinding time to solve a particular part of the puzzle.  The games two characters will follow a set path depending on how the objects or puzzles are laid out before them.  I found the puzzles adequately challenging on the first time playing through, but because most people have a good memory, I feel that the replay-ability of The Gardens Between will suffer.  I managed to finish the game after only playing it for about 6 or 7 hours, and finishing it on the drive home from the Edmonton Comic Expo.  I love the Switch for its portability. 

Speaking of playing on the Nintendo Switch,  playing The Gardens Between on the Nintendo Switch handheld screen was very doable, though some of the subtle clue’s in each puzzle would definitely be easier to pick out if I was playing on a big screen TV.  That being said the visual quality of The Gardens Between is so outstanding, it looks amazing on both the TV and the handheld screen, and is very enjoyable on both.

Overall The Gardens Between is an amazing puzzle game that is hard enough to get you thinking, but not hard enough to be considered impossible.  Focus your mind on being time instead of the characters and the puzzle solutions become more apparent.  The game is suitable for pretty much all ages to be able to play, and could offer 6 to 20 hours of game-play.  I would highly recommend this game to everyone.   It is available on the Nintendo Switch store and Steam

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Amazing puzzles!

An amazingly visual game with challenging puzzles to solve as you control Time

9.3
Visuals/Graphics:
9.5
Difficulty:
8.5
Controls:
10
Music/Sounds:
9