On Stream:https://store.steampowered.com/app/600990/The_Gardens_Between/

About This Game

The Gardens Between is a single-player adventure-puzzle game about time, memory and friendship.

Best friends Arina and Frendt fall into a series of vibrant, dreamlike island gardens peppered with everyday objects from their childhood. Together they embark on an emotional journey that examines the significance of their friendship.



Manipulate time to solve puzzles and reach the apex of each isle. Follow the duo as they unpack and explore their precious moments spent together, lighting up constellations and illuminating threads of a bittersweet narrative.

Features

  • Vibrant, storybook-inspired art style
  • Dreamy tale of adventure, friendship and growing-up
  • Gorgeous single player experience with a meaningful personal story
  • Bespoke ingenious puzzles require the manipulation of time to solve
  • Accessible design; simple controls, and no text, speech, time pressure or complex UI
  • Relaxing, ambient soundtrack by feature-artist Tim Shiel
  • Play in full detail on your gorgeous 4k screen

Reception


"Full of creative touches and small magical moments."
– GameSpot

"An incredibly clever and frighteningly intricate puzzle formula."
– Nintendo Life

"Every element works in unison with everything else to deliver on an idea."
– Shindig.nz

"A magical journey thatโ€™s well worth your time."
– Polygon

"You really need to play it."
– Engadget

Awards and Festivals

  • Apple ‘Mac Game of the Year’ Winner 2018
  • ‘Game of the Year’ Winner at the Australia Game Developer Awards 2018
  • ‘Most Innovative Game’ Winner by RocketBeans.tv 2018
  • ‘Best Technology’ Winner at Sense Of Wonder Night 2018
  • ‘Visual Excellence’ Finalist at IGF 2018
  • ‘Best of MIX’ Winner at MIX Seattle 2018
  • ‘Game Design Excellence’ Winner BIC Fest 2017
  • Plus another twenty industry award nominations
  • Made the final selection of indie game festivals across the world, including; Indie MEGABOOTH (PAX East, West, Aus), Indie Arena at Gamescom, IGF, IGF China, Day of the Devs, Out of Index, ACMI, Unity Showcase, BIC Fest, Cinekid MediaLab, and Sense of Wonder Night.

    Minimum:
    • OS: 7
    • Processor: 1.8 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD 4000 Series
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
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Size: 520 MB

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Feena

Posted: September 24, 2018
Product received for free

A wordless adventure of two friends. This time-traveling based game allows you to manipulate the time alone to solve 18 stages of puzzles. The story follows two friends, Arina, and Frendt who uses their tree house as a boat to take them from an island to another. They both work together to light the torches. Arina is the one who carries the lamp, she must find a light flower to draw some ‘lights’ from it but of course, she must avoid the dark flowers which will absorb this light. Frendt rings the bells which sometimes make the flowers visible or control other things.
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1520474224
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1520705268

The game’s controls are easy, you only use the two arrows, left and right along with space which allows you to interact with things once the characters reach it. What took my breath away is the levels design and art. The developers did a great job in each level, most of the items in the stage have an animation. You can run a game inside of the TV or write a password by rewinding and forwarding the time. The game is very creative with all of those puzzles, and the music is very relaxing, credit song is very beautiful too.
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1520474807

Pros:
+Beautiful graphics.
+Wordless story.
+Relaxing music.
+Creative and unique gameplay.
+Manipulating time.
+Varieties of puzzles.
+Steam achievements.

Cons:
-No hinting system.

I got stuck in a couple of stages, but the gameplay almost takes four hours if you don’t use a guide. It is a decent length for its price. I highly recommend it to puzzles lovers and people who enjoy relaxing gameplay.

๐น๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ ๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘–๐‘’๐‘ค๐‘  ๐‘๐˜ฉ๐‘’๐‘๐‘˜ ๐‘š๐‘ฆ ๐‘๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘”๐‘’ ๐น๐‘’๐‘’๐‘›๐‘Ž’๐‘  ๐ถ๐˜ฉ๐‘œ๐‘–๐‘๐‘’

Deisophia

Posted: September 22, 2018
โ€œLet us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.โ€
~Marcel Proust

Synopsis
The Gardens Between, is a surreal memory, fragmented and broken, yet still capable of revealing the numinous wonder and imagination of childhood. With charming character animations, gameplay driven narrative and ingenious puzzles, its a captivating game enhanced by the manipulation of time, metamorphosing reality through recollection into something mutable, and changeableโ€ฆ this is a story and experience like no other.

    +Pros
  • Independent characters, instead you control time itself
  • Dreamily illustrated world, with its own internally constructed symbolism
  • Puzzles that test a variety of mental aptitudes

    -Cons
  • No ability to change keybindings.
  • Eight levels, leave this slightly on the short side

Narrative
โ€œBut there is something about Time. The sun rises and sets. The stars swing slowly across the sky and fade. Clouds fill with rain and snow, empty themselves, and fill again. The moon is born, and dies, and is reborn. Around millions of clocks swing hour hands, and minute hands, and second hands. Around goes the continual circle of the notes of the scale. Around goes the circle of night and day, the circle of weeks forever revolving, and of months, and of years.โ€ – Madeleine L’Engle

Memories may be mutable but reality is notโ€ฆ two young children (Arina and Frendt) meet, have adventures and explore the boundaries of the worldโ€ฆA plot that is as old as time itself, and yet speaks deeply to the experience of all of us when executed well.
The Gardens Between are mere islands adrift in the sea of a magical reality. Shapes loom ominously through the mist shrouded atmosphere hinting at further layers of subconsciousness, hints of a larger awareness, but this is not the focus. Memories here are selective, recollections of disparate events, divided into the useful framework of levels.
These levels slowly unfold moments of bonding, the cultivation of memories that shape and grow any relationshipโ€ฆ and time itself is the gardener. Time that you as the player hold in tyranny, over the shaping of each memory.
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1519377610
There is no branching narrative here, the expression is a linear one, codified and compressed into immutabilityโ€ฆ and yet since these are memories the very framework of the human consciousness allows for change even as consequences remain the same.

Gameplay
โ€œAll problems are illusions of the mind.โ€ – Eckhart Tolle

In memories, time is mutable and no longer holds sway, changes in the future exist in the past and changes in the past affect the future. This is the basic premise of The Gardens Betweenโ€™s gameplay. Time moves forward when you press the right arrow key and correspondingly moves backwards when you press the left arrow key. Pausing is simply the absence of any input, leaving the world in stasis and interaction is achieved with a tap of the spacebar.

The characters will provide hints by pointing out different possibilities and can interact in different ways though they will often move contrary to each other as though in argument, but then return to working together, to slowly solve the goals. Arina is agile and strong, she relishes more physical tasks and will often be the one climbing about and daring new tasks, whereas Frendt is more scholarly, preferring to use tools to accomplish his tasks. Bearing these traits in mind can assist with the solution of puzzles.

The goal of each puzzle is distinct in each case, to carry a lamp bearing a light to a plinth where it will illuminate a constellation. Thereโ€™s many rich metaphors to be gained from this, which of course adds to the narrative depth. The light is temperamental as well. Plants either absorb or give light and a dark mist will obscure the way, but sometimes acts as a platform. Managing the presence or absence of your lamp and light through the levels is what will ensure your success.
You are further aided in this task by small boxes, the garden friends, that can carry the lamp at intervals for you, bypassing dark flowers that would otherwise steal the light, or carrying the lamp to a zone where it may become lit and return it to you. Paying attention to these little helpers will give you ideas on how to solve the puzzles.

Each level is divided into a concept, sewers, a playground, video games, and each level is further divided into two to three islands. Each one can be played again by sailing your treehouse refuge between them, slowly circling through each one though the chronology of the events is indistinct until near the end.
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1519375890
Interaction comes in the form of manipulation which is again limiting in terms of gameplay, but the variety of effects the manipulation causes is where the puzzles gain their depth and complexity. From memorization routines, mechanical puzzles to logic based symbolism, the variety is quite immenseโ€ฆ and this bears further fruit in the light 2.5D elements as well as the rotating aspect of the islands, a concept familiar to players of โ€œMonument Valleyโ€ or โ€œFezโ€. Some of the puzzles were unduly difficult and required some degree of lateral thinking, but generally in keeping with its casual nature the cognitive load never becomes too heavy, as certain techniques for solutions are repeated, before a new type of challenge arises.


Graphics
โ€œSurrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.โ€ – Salvador Dali

The oneiric images are produced in demure pastel tones, that craft a soothing and contemplative atmosphere. The game is also light on textures focusing instead on shape, form and shadow, that adds to the opacity of the memories.

The scenes are inherently domestic, and the surreal nature arises from the distortion of objects changing their size and shape. Popcorn bowls become massive, dwarfing the characters as they pass by and through them, and others are repurposed to strange tasks, such as the bicycle lift early in the game.
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1519375486
Accompanying this are the delightful animations, Arina lopes about with a long-legged gait, which Frendt needs to jog to catch up to. Although he sometimes becomes distracted, staring at objects while Arina crosses her arms and taps her foot impatiently further on. These little details add liveliness and character to the protagonists, and is equally suited to the animation of the objects as they, in their turn, add life to the world when you move everything through time.

Conclusion
If youโ€™re looking for something unique and memorable to play The Gardens Between is an endearing choice. With its minimalist controls and ingenious puzzle designs, it is a diverting exploration of concepts of time and memory. With eight levels to move through it may be slightly short, but it is worth it for the insightful narrative and astute level design.

Score: 9/10 ~Superlative~
Product received for free for review purposes
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krimbot

Posted: September 20, 2018
Beautiful graphics and music, with gameplay that seems deceptively simple but is utterly ingenious in its own right. This is not just a one click wonder! The levels build in intensity and complexity until you’re grinning with adorable frustration. You can’t be angry at this game, but you’ll enjoy trying.

Disclaimer: Completely stuck on a level. Still smiling.

Zowieanna Zanthia

Posted: September 21, 2018
The Gardens Between

WOW this game is wonderful very well made game, the visuals are very pretty, and the music is very soothing and relaxing. The game mechanic is very interesting and differant from any game I have ever played, your controlling time back and forth and its really easy and enjoyable to play. There are 8 levels, the first 2 levels have 2 islands each to solve puzzles, and the others look to have 3 islands each to solve puzzles which I need to unlock, so looks like around 20 islands to progress through. Each island gets gets more challenging as you progress through and I found them very enjoyable to try solve, I did get stuck and looked to a walk through to help me at the area I was stuck in, I didnt want to spoil to much as the game was a lovely surprise as I made progress. I have now finished the game with all achievements 100%. I may go back 1 day and play again as I enjoyed this game very much, it was worth my time and money I feel.

These Developers " The Voxel Agents" spent 5 and a half years making this game, you can see they poured thier hearts and souls into the game, So is it worth the $20usd ? I personally feel it was worth the asking price, but only the player can decide this themselfs. The game is rather short between 2 to 4.5 hours long, depending on player, and the time it takes them to solve the puzzles, as do get more challenging as you progress through, so for me time will not matter, as it will take as long or as short a time as I choose to complete these puzzles, and I can play the game over and over if I choose, I will certainly get my moneys worth, plus im more than happy to support these Aussie developers.

I So YES the game is certainly worth the $24.95A price tag, you will see this with in the game itself, if you buy and play it. These games are NOT made over night and they would certainly not be easy and nor cheap to make niether. Also developer can always add a few more island levels at a later date as a bonus OR add a dlc, if they choose to. I hope they do, because I loved playing this game, and now I want more, I was sad to see the end of game.

The game will be getting Trading cards added later, so keep an eye out for those. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It really is a wonderful puzzle game and i can certainly see a lot of love has gone into this game, just buy it if you can afford it, you wont be sorry if you like what you see on the store page.

The game is a GEM and 1 Im proud to have in my library now, thank you "The Voxel Agents" for making this game and bringing it to life for our entertainment and enjoyment

THANK YOU ๐Ÿ™‚

I strongly sugest waiting for a decent sale on this game, if you have Australian prices now, since 21/11/2018 the $24.95A is just to much for this short game anything under $20A would be more acceptable ok

vigor

Posted: February 8
Short travels that will make you go back in time.


Pros:
+Playable with a controller.
+Enjoyable story.

Cons:
-Pretty short.

What are you buying?

Story
This is like when two friends start playing together and create a new universe where they can return every day, I remember creating new worlds with a friend and playing like if we were there, made me feel identified with the game. Also, there is no speech in the game so we will have to pay attention to the visuals to understand what role are we taking.

Gameplay
We play as two friends at the same time, one of them will control a lamp which will control light that will open new zones and the other who will interact with objects in the environment. The only way to get to the end of the level is by working together through time.

All of this in a very closed environment where our only options of movement are to move forward and backward, but going forward and backward IN TIME. Basically, you have to do use of the butterfly effect to activate the exit with a lantern.

Time Shifters
In order to make events happen in the background, we are given the chance of using time shifters, those will alter all the background without affecting both friends, allowing us to unlock paths or block older ones. Anyway, those wonโ€™t be the only elements that will help us on the way(it will be up to you to discover).

Price
My first thoughts were that the game was overpriced and more after looking for the completion time, but as always that’s half of the way to determine if it’s fair or not. After playing the game I can tell that it is original and a rare gem. However, it won’t hurt the developers and less to our wallets to buy the game if we wait for sales.

The game has been in PS, XBOX and Nintendo consoles for a while. For example, it is included in the Xbox pass, allowing the player to discover this type of games that could go unnoticed.

Content
Up to four hours of content(two or three for the main story and an hour replaying some stages to get the achievements. The game is set in a peaceful environment that together with the difficulty and the way of playing makes the game family friendly.


Expanding content

Is the game a challenge?
The difficulty is progressive and every map we play takes longer to complete. Every two or three levels new objects claim to be the key, in one zone we will have to deal with the movement of water (and all that could affect) meanwhile in other zones we must follow unique patterns unlock the exit.

This game rewards patience and progress, every time you manage to pass a segment of a level you won’t have to go back again meaning you won’t have to worry about a part of the environment.

Even if you find this game hard, you will find that progression is made by "guessing" the correct pattern(since there is only one correct way to advance), anyway, this game can be finished with the knowledge of how gravity works, being a family-friendly game.

Graphics and Sound
Perfectly optimized, based on the Unity Game Engine with all the textures made by The Voxel Agents.

Bugs
Practically none! Not a single crash, not a single freeze. Sometimes if you go forward and backward too much it will speed some of the segments (donโ€™t know if that is intended to โ€œfinishโ€ the level faster or not).


Conclusion
I already played the game on console and it was a pleasure, not many games use time and the butterfly effect simultaneously as the main factor (life is strange uses time and Until Dawn uses the butterfly effect) and it’s great to see a successful game like this one.

The cost of the game is the only thing I have against this game since Iโ€™m that type of person who prefers good โ‚ฌ/hr proportions(anyway lot of games prove you canโ€™t always apply that) but you can always get it on sales,

RATING: 8/10

Follow our curator page, OCG-Curations if you like and want to see more reviews like this one.

Ryan Dorkoski

Posted: November 22, 2018
The Gardens Between is a short and sweet lite puzzler with a predictable-yet-endearing storyline. First and foremost – the price point is too high by a good bit. It’s not the length of the game (< 3 hours sans Achievement hunting) that bothers me as much as the depth. The puzzles range from simple to mildly clever; I mean that all in a good way. I never got frustrated and things progress at a good pace, but for this price I’d expect more complexity particularly in the endgame puzzles. When you consider the artwork, the fact that only three buttons are used, and fairly easy puzzles it can come off a bit mobile at times.

It probably sounds like I am dumping on this a bit – and I really don’t mean to. The world is masterfully crafted and the puzzles put a smile on my face several times. I enjoyed my time here, I just find it hard to recommend at full price. Even half is probably too much for some.

Essentially, this is a puzzle game where you can only go right or left. Going left reverses time. The characters are on rails so you don’t directly choose paths. It gets a tad more complex than that, but not by much. I hate making comparison to other games, but I feel strong about this one. The story is reminiscent of Gone Home, and the puzzles are curious mix of Braid and a hint of Fez.

Pros:
+Cute little puzzler that has charm
+Lite puzzles that shouldn’t frustrate many
+The world creation is really neat

Meh:
=Short, but Achievement hunting should add a bit

Cons:
-Too expensive
-They could have taken the puzzle complexity further; it all feels a bit too lite considering the asking price
-It hinges on feeling mobile at times (which I believe it is, therefore explaining some of the design decisions; thankfully the price is the same)

This is certainly worth your time if you can grab it in a bundle or in a deep sale.

Wiesler

Posted: February 17
It’s a simple puzzle game with lovely, intricate visuals and a sparse but nice score.


Essentially, The Gardens Between has the player control time, moving either forward or backward, whilst the 2 protagonists make their way through lavish surreal landscapes of storms, islands, and the clutter of toys and common household items. There are some other mechanics that get added in that might require staying still in one place for longer or figuring out witch device has to be used when going forward and backward to progress. There is nothing incredibly perplexing in this game and the adventure takes under a few hours, but it uses its run-time well.

Every few levels gets broken into a segment that shows the two friends having fun together. In turn, each little diorama like visual dissolves into a constellation. There is little narrative outside of this: no cutscenes, text or dialogue. It’s not as saccharine as it might appear, and still manages to feel grounded. It’s more sincere than anything, with little pretense. It’s a simple tale of friendship told well.

The Garden’s Between is enjoyable and paced well.

– .julez.a

Posted: October 5, 2018
A pretty unique little experience. Not very difficult and only lasts about 2 hours, but the "playing with time" mechanic never gets old or frustrating. Beautiful level design; would have loved to see more levels and maybe more varied locations. The music really stands out and perfectly sets the tone of each world. Casual puzzle fans and people looking for a "chill game" should give this a try.

nutcrackr

Posted: September 27, 2018
The Gardens Between is an elegant nostalgic puzzle adventure that has you watching two friends ascend abstract islands. Each island is part of a memory, providing wonder, imagination, and challenge. The simple puzzle mechanic of going back and forward through time is used extensively and customized for individual memories. While the story is minimal, the islands provide overt clues as to the scenes they depict. The Gardens Between will only take two hours to finish and there is not much reason to play it again, but once is certainly enough to create a good neighborly bond.

Read full review[www.newgamenetwork.com]

Cataclypse

Posted: September 19, 2018
After getting the sweet chance to demo The Gardens Between at PAX, I knew I had to buy this game right away. The gameplay is simple, complex, and unique. It even comes with a soothing nostalgia factor!

Definitely a great puzzle game to beat with friends too!


Update: would love to see a DLC added for additional levels or possibly a level builder.