Manifold Garden is a 3D puzzle title that re-imagines the laws of physics while dazzling the player with simple yet impressive visuals.
Honestly, this was a title that never crossed my mind, but soon it grabbed me for its complexity. Imagine the possibility of changing gravity and moving between floor, wall, and ceiling with a simple press of a button. But the more you study the geometry of this environment, the more disconcerting it becomes, it can even disturb you. The majority of abstract buildings repeat themselves endlessly and sometimes make the player feel completely surrounded by a kind of infinite limbo.
Solving some puzzles can be a hard task leading to moments of frustration. There is no middle ground, some are super easy and others are quite complex. Not forgetting the detail that makes all the difference, the possibility of changing gravity. That said, it is thus possible to walk on 6 different planes, making everything around you follow this trajectory.
Do you know that pleasant moment that exists after completing a puzzle that looks almost impossible? That feeling of finally discovering the solution and being able to replicate what the creator of the title imagined is simply magnificent. This title manages to move to another level when it presents the player with images that literally extended out of sight.
But to make it easier to understand this level of complexity, imagine that opening a door requires a red cube. This red cube has its own gravity so it is not possible to simply grab and transport it to the required location. It is necessary to play with the environment, or with other cubes of other colors with their own gravities. Another example is that of a ball being trapped inside tubes and it needs to reach from point A to point B, the only way is to find an alternative to change the gravity.
It would be interesting to have some way to go back in time, a bit like a “restart” button. There are points, as already indicated, in which it is necessary to transport the objects and in some situations, I came across the problem of being stuck or fell to infinity, or even putting myself in situations where the puzzle is simply impossible to solve in that situation. The only solution in these cases and I had to pray that the game did not autosave, is to return to the save in the previous area or on the previous occasion. That said, it would make it easier to have a button that would do this automatically and without major problems. An experience that lasted a few hours, but is so dense and strenuous that I took several breaks between game sessions.
I cannot fail to mention the performance of this title. Note that it does not run at 30 frames (on Nintendo Switch) and sometimes it is possible to see some performance breaks in both “undocked” and “docked” modes. Nothing to ruin the experience entirely, but it is really noticeable.
Manifold Garden really has a lot to involve the player, but it’s just super enjoyable to play. With a captivating aesthetic, super satisfying puzzles and ambient music that leaves anyone nailed to the floor at the height of overcoming different areas is a perfect game to put your gray area working.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game for Nintendo Switch, provided by Jesus Fabre.]