Arina and Friend (friend?) live in neighboring houses-and sometimes in their own tree house. And they live in a world of shared fantasies — drawings, imaginary adventures, invented games, maybe even their own language. She’s obviously a little older, a leader and a Tomboy. He’s a classic nerd, straight out of a textbook for aliens studying modern culture.
Before us stands the whole story of their friendship — the characters will swim through it in the truest sense of the word, adapting his rain-drenched house with a tree as a ship. From island to island, from one memory — so ordinary and so warm — to another. From the first meeting-to what almost every one of us can find in his childhood.
The Gardens Between-not the most ambitious game in the world, its creators, the Voxel Agents, do not threaten to talk about life and death, do not go deep into the psychological abyss and do not give an answer to the question, do androids dream about elektroovtsah. But Australian developers take very accurate notes and skillfully make ends meet. In their game, all working towards the same goal: the entourage eighties-early nineties (when and passed his childhood and developers, and a significant part of the audience) with characteristic colors, and nostalgic ambience, substitute here any of the words (the characters are dumb), and the Islands themselves-puzzles, which turn out to be accurate metaphors of the nature of memory.
Drifting in the ocean of the unconscious, they emerge piles of some household items, little things that do not pay attention to in everyday life, but be sure to stumble upon them in the attic of his memory. Worn to Shine the videotape with the “your” film; the calculator is a common tool for solving the homework, which from a distance of 20 years seems so touching; compulsory carpet that once were necessarily set the style of each room; a dinosaur skeleton, which you looked at when you went together in the Zoological Museum-and does stand colossus, which is more important than that favorite video game.
This is how memory works — it does not tell stories (except in a dream) and does not offer a linear chronicle of events, but creates similar Islands from moments, on which each of us is then in a little sad loneliness. But here we are talking after all about a video game in which conventions are acceptable — Arina and Friend plunge into their past together and successfully interact in their common memories.
But we cannot control this interaction. The scourge of many puzzle games — gnarled junction of form and content, far-fetched mechanics, which, in essence, does not follow from the meaning of the game. The Gardens Between-a happy exception to this “rule”, here everything works on the big picture. The only thing a player can control on the Islands-memories — is time. Or let it flow in the usual direction, or rewind. Well, to interact with some pre — agreed subjects-that’s all. Heroes move independently on their routes. After all, it’s their memories, not yours.
Each island is a separate puzzle. Each of them is solved slightly in its own way-the rules are set at the beginning, but in the course of the “swim” there are new details and measurements. Somewhere an additional dimension will be added, where an important action takes place (for example, a video game on the TV or a picture painted on the wall), somewhere familiar elements will get new opportunities. The ascetic tools we use will not change until the end.
The Gardens Between does not promise any challenge-the meaning of the game is in the emotional experience, not a sense of achievement. All riddles are solved quite easily-for the most part they do not require a stop to think and search for a way out; a sense of flow almost does not suffer. A couple of times I had to sit an extra 5-10 minutes, trying different options, but to situations that require to go to Youtube in search of a solution or — for the most persistent — to take a break in order to refresh the mind — does not reach. The game is perfect to pass it at a time — it will take 3-4 hours. She manages to catch, but no time to get bored.
Looks like the creation of The Voxel Agents is very great. A nostalgic story by some miracle without the hefty pixels, and even encouraged lovingly spelled out the details, sketched a couple of strokes of the characters Arina and Frenda to so dear to the heart of materialism. Everything moves: the yellow leaves, swept by a gust of wind, will fly over the island, the gust of wind will tear the jacket thrown on the pipe, then the cold November rain will go, which will take away the warmth of friendship, but will not be able to wash away memories.