Developed By : William Chyr Studio
Published By : William Chyr Studio
Category : Adventure, Puzzle
Release Date : Aug 18, 2020
There are many different elements to all the games that we play. Many of these elements can draw us into a game, while just as many can push us away if they’re missing once we get to playing. Not every game needs a kick-ass soundtrack, and visuals aren’t always everything since some pixel art games can feel and play just as well as intensely detailed AAA titles. But, one thing a lot of us tend to look for is some sort narrative, weaving through the game and giving purpose to whatever it is we’re doing.
Enter : Manifold Garden on the Nintendo Switch. A visually minimalistic puzzle game that drops you right into a world that could have easily been imagined up by M. C. Escher. The world around you is heavily restricted, initially at least. You’ll need to navigate around and activate various switches in order to expand and see more of what’s around you.
To survive and solve your way through the world, you’re given the ability to alter the gravity around you. To do this, you’ll need to be close to a perpendicular wall and activate the gravity flip. Once you do, the wall you’re looking at will become the new “ground”, giving you new ways to get around and potentially access through doors that previously had been out of reach windows.
You’ll have a lot more to deal with than just walking on walls though if you want to progress through and grow the world. There are also a large amount of switches to interact with in order to open doors. In doing so, especially once you get into the outside areas, this is how you expand the world and eliminate some of the repetitiveness.
The puzzles you need to solve are both simple and a little complex at the same time. They’re never really detailed or extensive, especially since the only thing you can really do is flip the world. The only real hurdle you’ll run into is occasionally you’ll have blocks that you can move around. Except, they can only be moved if the room is flipped a certain way. If the world is flipped a different way these blocks become locked in place. This can cause problems if it’s your only block around, or it could help you create a “shelf” if you need to move other blocks too.
Initially, I had fun starting out in this game. The art style was great, with key things being focused in colors. The neverending world was a great touch too, I had lots of fun when I made it outside just jumping off the stairs to try and cheese my way into new areas. (Hint : it doesn’t help). But after a time, I grew a bit bored of the game. The fact that there was no driving force behind what I was doing just kept making me lose interest more and more. Each area I opened and each door I unlocked didn’t greet me with a single bit of lore, it just brought me into more puzzles. The only thing I can say is if the game waits for the very end to open up about exactly where you are and what you’re doing, then the game itself doesn’t justify playing through to reach that point.
In short, if you can enjoy a nice mind-bending world with some minor head-scratching puzzles, you’ll probably enjoy Manifold Garden. Conversely, if you in any way want or need some sort of mythology or story to go along with what you’re doing, I doubt you’ll make it much further into this game than I did.