The first PC and console release from Australian developer The Voxel Agents, The Gardens Between is a surreal puzzle game reminiscing about childhood. Starring the inquisitive Arina and the more reserved Frendt, the pair find themselves exploring strange worlds seemingly drawn from real life. Not only that but the two encounter bizarre machines and devices as they navigate through the many different islands, attempting to uncover the mysteries they hold. The Gardens Between promises an emotional story about childhood and growing up, set against the backdrop of a child's active imagination.
The Voxel Agents are well known for their highly artistic puzzle games, which were previously released only on mobile devices. The Train Conductor puzzle series has seen success on both Android and Apple phones, but The Gardens Between represents a more mature effort from the indie studio. Central to The Gardens Between is the time-manipulation mechanic: move forward to advance time, move backward to reverse time. As one can imagine, all of the puzzles revolve around affecting the environment both in the future and in the past.
The Gardens Between is a deliberate attempt to create an emotional puzzle game. The time-manipulation mechanic might invite comparisons to Braid, but Braid's focus was on platforming and puzzles, and also in two dimensions. Conversely, The Gardens Between is more concerned with the time-manipulation mechanic itself, as well as the puzzles, and contains no platforming whatsoever. The Voxel Agents partnered with professional music talent in Tim Shiel for The Gardens Between, and a pianist as well. This, when paired with the gorgeous art shows off the talent and craftsmanship that the team has. With releases forthcoming on the Switch, PS4, and PC, The Gardens Between is hoping to recapture some of the magic of childhood through beautiful and mindbending puzzles.