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Manifold Garden Review

Manifold Garden Review
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In 1953, Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher created a piece of art known as 'Relativity', a lithographic print that depicted a collection of impossible, geometrically created staircases. You know it, right? It’s inspired games as far as the eye can see, from Monument Valley to certain sections in Persona, among others. Thanks to American artist, William Chyr, Escher's work is essentially now a game in its own right. A wonderful, mind-fuck of a puzzle game, that teaches you to embrace the impossible. In fact, Manifold Garden is so much more than a game – it’s as close to a spiritual journey in video game form as you’re likely to get.

At its core, Manifold Garden is a fairly simplistic puzzle game, teaching you to forget what is and isn’t possible, and to leave behind everything you learned in geometry class. Chyr’s game is so much more than that, though – it’s a living, breathing work of art. It’s a game that you can’t comprehend at times, but thanks to an explosion of colour and mind-bending puzzles, all set to a fantastic soundtrack, you don’t need to comprehend it. You just need to lean into it.

When I say that Manifold Garden is a fairly simplistic puzzle game, I mean it. The vast majority of your time is spent navigating surfaces and flipping the world to achieve your goal of ridding the world of black ooze that has stemmed its creativity. You’ll be redirecting the flow of water to accelerate the growth of trees and passing through portals, but for the most part, you’ll be putting cubes on pressure pads and hitting switches. Only through the ludicrous and baffling world-design does the relatively simple become incredibly complex. With each axis given a colour, and certain objects only accessible in that plane of pigmentation, you’ll often find yourself having to think outside the box. Quite literally.

If you’re looking for a bit of a head-fuck game, Manifold Garden is it. The impossible geometrical make-up of the game can be a somewhat bewildering at times, as is the fact that the level is stretches infinitely across the game's world. Not only can you see the environment repeated endlessly all around you, but you can theoretically fall forever if you drop off the edge. If you suffer from vertigo, this might not be the game for you. It is, however, something that challenges you to think laterally and completely abandon logic. And that’s why it proves an absolute treat.

One thing that Chyr and his team have absolutely nailed throughout is the pacing. Manifold Garden frequently introduces new mechanics, turning its back on previous mechanics before they grow stale. That said, things can be very daunting and confusing at times, and if you do happen to get stuck there's no assistance to fall back on whatsoever. Should you get stuck, you’ll potentially be forever perplexed until you figure out a solution, which is simultaneously beautiful and quite tragic. Granted, we did manage to breeze through most of the game's puzzles, but when you do hit that brick wall – like a certain Tetris puzzle, for instance – it can be incredibly overwhelming.

There’s no doubt about it, though – Manifold Garden is a game like no other. A trippy, spiritual journey into the impossible that both astounds and confuses in equal measure. Manifold Garden is not just a puzzle game, it’s an experience, and as soon as you accept that the impossible is possible and forget everything you know about geometry, the easier the journey becomes. Because that’s exactly what Manifold Garden is: a journey.

 

The audio is as much a part of the experience in Manifold Garden as the visuals are. Turn it up loud and really lose yourself in it.

Manifold Garden is such a stunning piece of art – there’s no other way to put it. Utterly unique, it offers an explosion of colour and geometry that is often beyond comprehension.

It’s relatively simple: one stick to move, one button to flip the world and one button to interact. Its complexity comes in its level design and the two combine almost perfectly.

Manifold Garden will only last for four or so hours, but those four or so hours are an incredible affair, and one that you’ll always remember. There’s literally nothing like this out there.

Basically, complete the game and beat the puzzles, which for a game that doesn’t really want to distract you all too much, is actually a good thing, believe it or not.

Manifold Garden is a stunning puzzle game, one that will leave a lasting impact on you, not just for its thought-provoking puzzles, but by virtue of the fact that you're essentially playing an actual piece of art. It's bloody delightful!

 
 
 
Game Info
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Release:

US August 18, 2020

HDD Space Required : 2.88 GB
Price: $19.99USD
Collection:1
Wishlist:3
 
 
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