Manifold Garden – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle game
Developer: William Chyr Studios
Publisher: William Chyr Studios
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Manifold Garden – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Unique gameplay, Looks absolutely stunning
Bad: Sound design could be better, No story at all
User Score
8.3
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.3/10 (4 votes cast)

The laws of physics are something we are all subjected to in real life. But in video games, strange things can happen that do not abide by our world’s nature. Sometimes this means fighting enormous dragons or blasting your enemies away with destructive magic. But William Chyr tries a completely different approach, using his experience as an artist to create a puzzle game that challenges the way we solve problems. The architecture is strange, the expanse seemingly never-ending, but most importantly, gravity does not have a solid grasp in Manifold Garden, forcing you to get creative.

Story

There isn’t really a comprehensive story in this game. Since it dedicates itself completely to puzzle-solving and the player’s exploration of this strange world, gamers looking for an engaging narrative might be disappointed. Luckily the game mechanics stand quite solidly on their own and a story isn’t too sorely missed. Of course, you are free to conjure up your own theories about the sterile world full of strange buildings and odd elements you find yourself in, but don’t expect the game to hold your hand and explain what’s going on or what any of this weirdness means. The game drops you right into the puzzles when you start, and there are no further indications that anything more complicated is at stake.

Graphics

As is to be expected from a game designed by an artist, the visuals play an important part in Manifold Garden. The world you travel through is seemingly endless (and literally endless too as we find out later) with impossible architecture that defies all logic. Confusing, to say the least, but interesting and fun to explore, even if you can’t wrap your head around it all the time. The colors are mostly kept subtle and play an important role, with them shifting depending on how you manipulating gravity as well as highlighting certain important items.

Sound

Like most games of this type, the music in Manifold Garden is kept pretty low-key. There isn’t really anything to complain about, but not much to praise either, with most of the track being slow and relaxing. In fact, there were quite a few prolonged moments of near silence too, but frankly, it’s not something too noticeable if you’re busy figuring out the logistics of the most recent puzzle. And the music and sound effects that were there were more than fine.

Gameplay

Manifold Garden is a puzzle game that relies mostly on altering gravity and figuring out the architecture of physics-defying surroundings. Things start relatively simple as you are inside a building, not having to do much more than move cubes and press buttons. But soon you will notice the rooms do not have the normal layout you might expect. Luckily you can twist gravity around with a simple click, making one of the walls into your new floor. This way you can move around rooms in all directions, the world tilting accordingly so you’re never sideways or upside down, with items staying in their place.

This last detail is very important. The cubes you encounter, for example, all have certain colors. These colors will not only tell you where they go, as there are slots of matching colors to fit the cubes into, but also when you can move them. You can only move cubes when you are in the correct gravity position after all. If you change the gravity, the cubes will turn white and you won’t be able to interact with them. They will also stick to the wall or ceiling here, further defying the gravity, which will enable you to do some neat tricks with them.

As you go outside you will notice something else about this world which seems interesting. It is not only endless in all directions, but also repeating itself continuously, which makes space seem bigger than it actually is. It also means that jumping off the roof of a building will only land you on the roof of that same building. It seems complicated, but after some practice you will be using this mechanic to move around the strange setting with ease, solving puzzles and opening doors along the way.

Later on, some more complicated mechanics get involved, such as changing the flow of water to force it into a certain course, as well as bigger puzzles that require more work. The only big downside here is that it’s quite easy to get lost in the maze-like architecture, and as the game lacks a storyline to follow it isn’t always as clear to see where you should go next. Exploration is a big factor in this game and while the bizarre environments mostly make it worth the search, this lack of proper direction combined with the brain-wrecking mechanics and no hint system can make this game a challenge to get through for those who are easily frustrated or stumped.

Conclusion

Manifold Garden is certainly a solid game in the genre that should please most diehards looking for more complicated puzzles that will really test your ability to think outside of the box. The lack of story here certainly doesn’t detract from a refreshing game that looks amazing. Just make sure to remember which way the ceiling is.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.3/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Manifold Garden - Review, 8.3 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Jessica
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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