Manifold Garden is a striking and hugely impressive puzzler – but it’s certainly not for everyone. But perhaps that’s part of the appeal. Scratch that – it definitely is.
Heavily inspired by the maddening art of M.C. Escher, this is a game that immediately draws you in with its bold angular visuals and dreamlike aesthetics. There’s little in the way of music, and to start at least it’s quite a relaxing experience.
You, at a basic level, have to work your way through a series of rooms and areas by picking up a coloured cube and placing it on the right square to open up a door to the next challenge.
The twist is that to do this you have to switch gravity in the rooms to turn walls into your next floor, and so on.
It starts off gently but it’s not long before some of the challenges become so head scratching your forehead will become a fine powder.
You’ll need to work out where certain blocks will end up because of messing with the gravity, how they need to be used with other blocks, and also if you can bridge distances between huge gaps by simply dropping off one island onto another (there’s no jump button here).
So it’s safe to say this certainly isn’t a game for more casual puzzle fans, and Manifold Garden’s complete lack of hand holding will put off many – as will its ice cold presentation and unchanging puzzle set up.
Because as stunning as the game looks, the basic set up for puzzles – cube powered switches to open a door – doesn’t change. It does its best to keep things interesting, but things don’t deviate too far from this formula.
Ultimately however, this consistent – if arguably stubborn – insistence on sticking to a script and getting everything out of it is Manifold Garden’s greatest strength.
It’s an impressive piece of work both in terms of its design and aesthetics, and anyone after a puzzle game which looks a little different to most – and one that offers up a solid challenge to boot – should certainly pick it up.