> # Welcome to GameGrinOS v1.01 > # How can I help you? > # Press ` again to close
Hello… | Log in or sign up
Manifold Garden Review

Manifold Garden Review

I saw a screenshot teaser for some game, and somewhere nearby there was a tagline like "contemplate the infinite". I thought: "That sounds intriguing, I mean, how does one contemplate the infinite exactly, and how does a game manage to represent that?"

A name also caught my eye: "Escher".

Now, ever since I was a kid I’ve been amazed by Escher’s drawings. I remember gluing triangles cut from that shiny paper that had the same type of glue on the back as envelopes, to doing some tessellation work during my GCSE mathematics days. Who hasn't seen the bonkers upside left antics in the film Labyrinth, directly mirroring M. C. Escher's nuts "who gives a damn about gravity?" drawings?

escher relativity

So, on a whim today, I picked up Manifold Garden on the Epic Store. A PS4 release is planned in the future. I only played for half an hour to an hour before I just had to take a break. I write flippant bollocks all the time about games, usually the honest truth because I really don't know any other way and because I'm not beholden to anyone, least of all game developers who have given away free review keys to get their games some press space. Besides, I believe in honest reviews even down to the niggly UI issues and nancy crap like how speech bubbles appear in a game.

But I admit before whatever entity runs the consensual simulated hallucination we call reality, that this game is some damn thing else.

It almost feels a let-down to describe the introductory rooms where you basically just intuitively pick up how to move between axes of gravity, effectively changing the wall to the floor, and back again to traverse around the building you start in. It feels insultingly mundane thinking how to get used to visual cues of buttons which you can only operate when situated on the correct gravitic axis, and how the same orientation affects the ability to pick up coloured blocks.

There is a sublime and gentle beauty of the colours used in the game, sometimes vivid, they're generally segued into gradually, or subtly shift from colour to colour as you swap from wall to floor, from floor to ceiling. Alongside these colours are mood perfect ambient melodies, which occasionally morph into shuddering electronic basslines akin to Vangelis' soundtrack to Blade Runner and are environment bound as well, embedding themselves into the emotion of the game.

Once beyond the introductory rooms, you emerge into a literally infinite repeating landscape. Some examination of the structures in the distance tell you that if you could see far enough, you'd see the back of your own head. In fact, just to test the theory I simply walked off the nearest edge, and fell, well, infinitely until I pushed forward far enough to land on a repeating iteration of where I'd departed solid "ground".

Ashampoo Snap 20 October 2019 12h56m31s 010

Goddamn, it looks like it really does feel like infinity out there.

A little further on, and the rigid geometry of the universe introduced more organic shapes, flocks of birds flew across a psychedelic sky and into and out of some swirling vortex of cubes and repeating shapes. I think if I looked hard enough I might see some representation of fractals, as I dare say the coding of this game will be looking at looping and repeating patterns of objects which is a guiding principle of fractal designs.

Ashampoo Snap 19 October 2019 22h50m54s 003

I've been a gamer since I was old enough to press the keys on a Commodore Vic 20. I've been from one end of the gaming galaxy to the other, playing on Atari 2600s, all sorts of Nintendo, traditional coin-op arcade machines, and thrown sacks of tuppenny bits into clanking seaside shuffling behemoths just hoping for a handful to come back. I'm in my 40s and still don't believe in anything concrete.

Something about this game connected with an eager receptor in my brain which went "Woah". And nothing has managed that, from artwork to religion, from books to music, for a very, very long time.

You might pick this one up, and I thoroughly expect you to go "Meh, it's not *that* good."
And you'd be right, for you.

For me, this is the most beautiful game I've ever played, and has sent tingles up the back of my neck I haven't felt in years.

Fucking well buy it.

If it's important, the UI is as clean, minimal and undisruptive as I've seen in any game recently and the controls are simple, along with exact positional saves for when you need to take a break.

Ashampoo Snap 19 October 2019 22h50m45s 002

This is the kind of gushing pretentious intellectual shit that normally ends up in Private Eye's "Pseuds" corner, but I really couldn't give a flying fuck.

Oh, did I mention it's only £15.99?

10.00/10 10

Manifold Garden (Reviewed on Windows)

Outstanding. Why do you not have this game already?

I have never encountered a more beautiful, entrancing and sublime gaming experience

This game was purchased at retail for the purpose of this review
Share this: