The Gardens Between

I recently finished playing a lovely puzzle game: The Gardens Between. It’s a sweet, wordless game about friendship and memory, available on a bunch of different platforms, including iOS and Steam.

The game starts with two kids who are friends (and next-door neighbors), Arina and Frendt (I read them as being a white girl and boy, but I’m not sure whether that’s the designers’ intent), in their treehouse on a rainy night. They then find themselves transported to a series of islands in which you can explore their memories using a nifty interface that lets you move them forward and backward in time “to solve puzzles and illuminate threads of a bittersweet narrative,” as the game’s website puts it.

The puzzles are mostly pretty straightforward. There are two specific mechanics that come up partway through the game that I would never have figured out on my own (I consulted a cheat page for those), but other than that I found the puzzles easy to solve. But the graphics are great, the rewind-time mechanic is really cool, and the story is sweet.

Recommended, especially on a large tablet with headphones or other good audio.

(Quasi-spoiler in a comment on this post.)

4 Responses to “The Gardens Between”

  1. Jed


    I was a little apprehensive through much of the game because I was worried about where the story might be going; there were two general areas of possible story that I was hoping that they wouldn’t end up with but worried they might. So if you want to know in very general terms two big common story themes that I’m glad are not in this game, then decode my rot-13 note below. If you don’t want to know anything more about the game going into it, then don’t decode the below note.

    I was worried that they were headed for either n ebznapr orgjrra gur gjb punenpgref, be n shgher va juvpu bar bs gurz qvrq. I was relieved to find that neither of those things happen.

  2. Nao

    I like the sound of this, but I need to check for the sake of my wrists — is there a lot of dragging things around on the screen, or is it a matter of tapping/clicking?


    • Jed

      That’s not as easy a question to answer as one might think. 🙂

      The main control that you use is drag-forward and drag-backward. But you’re not dragging a particular thing; you can put down your finger anywhere on the screen and slide it to the right, and time moves forward as long as you keep your finger there. Put down your finger on the screen and slide it to the left, and time moves backward.

      There’s also occasional tapping, but the drag-right/drag-left is the main control.

      So I don’t know whether that counts as dragging for your purposes.

      • Nao

        The nuance is appreciated! But yes, it counts as the sort of dragging that hurts my wrist..

        Thank you


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