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Watch surreal time-manipulation puzzle game The Gardens Between

Pretty islands and a sweet story

The Gardens Between offers a gentle, pretty take on time manipulation. It’s a puzzle game in which two friends journey to a series of surreal islands, solving puzzles in order to ascend each one.

Players do not control the players themselves, only the timeline, which can be moved back and forth. This allows for a lot of fiddling around with lanterns, lights, bells and bridges. Really, it’s an observation game, a kind of kinetic Where’s Waldo?. It’s a game of observation and logic. Things are constantly moving around, and must be organized just so, in order to progress.

I played the game recently and enjoyed its pace and its aesthetic. The Gardens Between begins with simple missions, but soon advances to levels of higher complexity. In one level, shown in our demo video, the two characters must interact with a video game, while simultaneously ascending the island.

Time manipulation is nothing new in games, often drafted in to spice up shooting and combat games. Perhaps it was best used in Life is Strange, which also toyed with puzzles of movement, placement and chronology.

The Gardens Between is being developed by The Voxel Agents and is due out later this year on Mac, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.