Gardens Between, The (PC) Review

Developer/Publisher: The Voxel Agents || Overall: 9.5/10

The Gardens Between is one of the most beautifully crafted games I’ve ever played.  Creating games that can be appreciated as art can be a bit of a challenge, since it has to be a full package.  The graphics, music, story/symbolism, gameplay — every little part of the game needs to be paid attention to, or the risk of not being taken seriously as art becomes a possibility.  The Gardens Between accomplishes this very well and only in the way an interactive medium, such as gaming, can.

Each aspect of the title ties into the story, giving you a certain emotional feeling as each level is completed.  You’ll soon realize that each level is based on an event, shared between the two female characters “Red Jacket Girl” and “Glasses Girl.”  While they technically have names (Arina and Frendt), according to the Steam description page, there is no formal identification of the two girls in-game, nor does it really matter.  There are no voices, no text bubbles… the story is told through visuals alone and you get the sense that something happens in their relationship that forces them to take this trip through surrealistic memory lane.  After completing each set of levels, you are treated to a more direct reference to what the elements of the level refer to, which builds the relationship between the two girls further as you journey along.

The gameplay itself is an interesting mechanic, as you are dealing mostly with the concept of “time.”  You can rewind and go forward, performing certain tasks in a certain order to get through the obstacles at hand.  The main mechanics consist of Red Jacket Girl (aka Arina) holding a lantern, lighting it, and using it to get through obstacles.  She can place it on certain items to activate them/complete the level, or leave it on little jumping cubes.  The pursuit is typically to get the lantern lit when it needs to be, and make sure it isn’t lit when you don’t want it to be.  Glasses Girl (aka Frendt) has the ability to toggle certain objects, some of which are simple binary toggles, or manipulating the construction/deconstruction of a portion of the level so that a pathway can open up.  These mechanics are used in all sorts of combinations, making for an interesting challenge, but there was never anything that I was stumped at for too long.  There were one or two puzzles I had to look up, though; I would never have thought to complete them the way I needed to.

The graphics, and music are beautiful and match each other very well.  These two elements also tie into the story quite well, and really sell you on the emotional aspect of the girls’ relationship with one another.  There are also nice touches in their animation, where they are visibly frustrated, curious, or affectionate (such as holding each other’s hands for a few seconds as they walk through the level), which gives the girls a lot of personality.  The types of things they did also might remind you of an earlier time in your life when you listened to audio cassettes, watched VHS tapes on terrible TVs, and had a household printer that used feed paper.  Of course, most people below the age of 25 are probably not going to be very nostalgic for those things, but the aspect of having a best friend when you were younger is a timeless reference.

I really enjoyed The Gardens Between.  With about 4 hours of actual gameplay, this is a quick title that deserves another replay just to pay attention to all of the little details one more time.  While not everyone may relate to the events that are being relived, the gameplay is unique enough to entertain anyone for the duration.

 

Formal Pirate Clothing – Commercial

Cast:

Bob American is the Captain (aka manager).
Joey McCurken is the First Mate (aka assistant manager).
Brandon Spaz is a pirate that shops at Formal Pirate Clothing.

BOB AMERICAN
Hello, how are you today, Mr. Pirate?  Welcome to the Formal Pirate Clothing store!

CUSTOMER
Jusssst great!  Arr!!

BOB AMERICAN
Can I help you find something?

CUSTOMER
I’d like to buy some clothes, but I just don’t know what wear, arr!!

BOB AMERICAN
What kind of look are you looking for?

CUSTOMER
I’m looking for a formal-looking suit, for work.

 BOB AMERICAN
You’re in luck, we have a special on suits today.
We have many combinations that will suit what you need.

CUSTOMER
Hey, that’s great, arr!

BOB AMERICAN
We have a black suit, that is a black jacket, black pants,
and a blue shirt with a blue tie.

CUSTOMER
Hmm.. that’s not really what I’m looking for… arr!

BOB AMERICAN
We have some black shoes that would look great with the suit you “arrrr!” buying.

CUSTOMER
Good, I’ll take those, too.  How about a pirate hat to go with it, arr?

BOB AMERICAN
Well, the only one that would go with your suit is this woman’s gardening hat…75% off!

CUSTOMER
That’s perfect, arr!

BOB AMERICAN
Come up to the counter, and I’ll have my assistant manager process the sale for you.

In the back, the security cameras just show Bob American talking to air.  The Customer is a ghost!!!

CUSTOMER
Do you take Pirate Express?  Arr!

BOB AMERICAN
Didn’t they go out of business 100 years ago?

CUSTOMER
Nonsense!  I just got it in the mail yesterday!

BOB AMERICAN
What is this mail you speak of?  Pirates do not have addresses.

JOEY MCCURKEN
Yarr!  It be a ghost, Cap’n!!  He has a damned locket around his neck!

CUSTOMER
Oh, this?  I got it from my dear departed aunt—

Just then, Bob American runs the Customer through with a saber.  Customer keels over with the sword sticking out of his chest as he bleeds across the counter and onto the register.

BOB AMERICAN
Oh.  He wasn’t a ghost, after all.

JOEY MCCURKEN
Oh.  I keep forgetting that the security system still shoots in interlace,
but ever since we got that new progressive flat screen, everyone looks like a ghost on it!

BOB AMERICAN
Joey, you just lost us a sale.  And I may very well go away for a long time when
the mall property manager gets a load of the water damage to the floor.

JOE MCCURKEN
The planet Earth moves through curved space.

BOB AMERICAN
Ah, yes, how can I forget.

End.

 

Quote #21094: Dialogue

Juan: “Hi, Mrs. Garcia!”

Mrs. Garcia: “Hi, Juan!”

Juan: “I like your banana.”

Mrs. Garcia: “yes, it is very long, no?”

Juan: “yes”

Mrs. Garcia: “the size of my banana is 12”

Juan: “what is the price?”

Mrs. Garcia: “the jacket is 999 pesos”

Juan: “good”

Mrs. Garcia: “yes”

Juan: “yes, bye”

– by davepoobond and BlindBubba.  Written in Spanish for an assignment, and then translated into English by davepoobond.

 

You Know You Are From A Small Town When…

You Know You Are From A Small Town When…

– The local phone book has only one yellow page.

– Third Street is on the edge of town.

– The “road hog” in front of you on Main Street is a farmer’s combine.

– You leave your jacket on the back of the chair in the cafe, and when you go back the next day, it’s still there, on the same chair.

– You don’t signal turns because everyone knows where you’re going, anyway.

– No social events can be scheduled when the school gym floor is being varnished.

– You call a wrong number and they supply you with the correct one.

– Everyone knows all the news before it’s published; they just read the hometown paper to see whether the publisher got it right.

– The McDonalds only has only one Golden Arch.

– A “Night on the Town” takes only 11 minutes.

– You have to name six surrounding towns to explain to people where you’re from.

– Headline news is who grew the biggest vegetable this year.

– You can name everyone you graduated with.

– School gets canceled for state sporting events.

– Anyone you want can be found at either the Dairy Queen or the feed store.

– Directions are given using “the” stop light as a reference

– It was cool to date someone from the neighboring town.