The Gardens Between is a hugely relaxing but not too long puzzle indie video game that relates a straightforward but emotional story. You will be exploring an abstract 90s style look to the nostalgic past of two kids, Arina and Frendt, who are best friends and live in adjacent houses.
The game consists of different levels portrayed as small islands, each of them with a thematic related to aspects of their daily lives that give memory of the many adventures they’ve enjoyed through their childhood, one island is related to the coach where they used to watch TV, the other pertaining to sports, video games and so on with multiple topics.
The game’s mechanic is pretty simple to the point where just need no more than 3 keys (on PC), one to interact with objects along the levels and the other two to take time backwards and forwards, this, allowing you to play with the environment which you have to carefully analyze for solving puzzles so you can finally get to the peak of the island.
It would be important to clarify, in case you are looking for a more adventurous experience, that you will not directly control the characters, but rather using the flow of time to allow our protagonists to go on in their adventure.
Every single level has very different environmental features that will keep you aware of every detail on the map, because you don’t know what will help you to solve puzzles, it could be cracked pipes, rays, a printer, maybe a dinosaur skeleton, a VHS, an old computer or any other thing related to the era in which the game is based, which shows how creative the game developers were in the creation of the game.
The game itself, however, is not very difficult and that lead to a series of harsh comments from players in regards of that matter, we consider that it’s slightly better this way than having complex challenges that will keep you trapped for 2 hours since the gameplay’s focus is making you feel satisfied and relaxed with its incredible mechanics and story.
In addition to everything mentioned before, the game features fantastic visuals both colourful and vibrant, great animations and a relaxing soundtrack that can get a bit repetitive if you play for too long but it won’t ruin your gameplay experience.
But it’s this game’s heart-warming story that will make you love it to the core as it’s straightforward but very touching at the same time. However, we suggest you play through the entire game to fully understand it, which won’t take you too long as 2 – 3 of gameplay will suffice quite well.
While not having an extensive story or difficult and replayable levels, this game excels from an artistic standpoint thanks to its story, visuals and music. If you want to relax for a while and play a not too challenging puzzle game while tearing up to a great story, then you should give The Gardens Between a try, you definitely won’t regret it.