The Gardens Between

Lost in a mysterious realm where cause and effect are malleable

Matthew Rodriguez

3 minute read

Lost in a mysterious realm where cause and effect are malleable, two friends find that time flows in all directions. Manipulate time to solve puzzles and reach the apex of each isle. Follow the duo as they unpack and explore their significant moments spent together, lighting up constellations and illuminating threads of a bittersweet narrative.

8.1 / 10

Why are photos so important to us? While I’m not really into taking pictures – I feel like we miss more moments in the process – I understand the desire to capture snapshots of our lives, and I wholly admit to the comfort and pleasure upon reflection of past fading experiences and emotions.

This imaginative game moves deeply within the space of memories. Maybe for some the intended poignancy will prove evocative, I, however, just finished ironing my brain, and I’ve already forgotten what I’m even writing about.

Disclaimer — this review is a result of my biased first impression after floating a few hours of fading gameplay and should be taken lightly.

Overall: 8.1 / 10

The Gardens Between is a creative puzzle adventure of a transitory nature. With simple controls, lending to moments that evolve only with character movement, and art direction that beautifully captures the imagination of adolescent nostalgia, the story – touching on the timeless emotions of childhood friendship, memories, and loss – yearns to be played out in a single session, from the comfort of your living room, and ideally on a tablet. The Gardens Between, despite delivering intricately designed levels of unfolding puzzles, fails to fully engage and deliver on the most important game metric - fun.

Gameplay: 7.5 / 10

Simple, a bit easy, and slightly repetitive.

Controls 8.0 / 10

As basic as they come. One button to move left, one button to move right, another to interact. Done. Too bad there isn’t a button for sprinting or speeding up the action.

Difficulty: 7.5 / 10

The puzzles, although elegantly and cleverly designed into the environment, were too basic from a gameplay standpoint. Essentially the solutions were just a matter of repetitive guess and check, at most.

Progression: 7.1 / 10

The crux of the failure of the game. Despite a slight increase in level intricacy and consequently puzzle complexity, the gameplay never really progressed into anything fun.

Story: 8.0 / 10

A beautiful ending to a moving message for an absent half-asleep audience.

Characters: 7.7 / 10

No depth, no dialog. They didn’t interest me, and I don’t care about them, which is a shame.

Setting: 8.6 / 10

Beautiful and imaginative. A solid foundation to build characters off, and yet this connection never came through.

Progression: 7.8 / 10

The story moves along with a decent cadence, and the ending almost saves it entirely, but it thoroughly fails to engage.

Production: 8.8 / 10

Overall the production is good, the music is good, the visuals are good.

Music 9.4 / 10

Good. Bonus points for having an album available in popular music apps.

Art 8.6 / 10


Graphics 8.4 / 10


For a one time couch and tablet experience.

There is nothing left to play.

Time to rest.