The Gardens Between - PlayStation 4 Review

Through memories and back

Game Info:

  • System: PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: The Voxel Agents
  • Developer: The Voxel Agents
  • Release Date: Sept 20, 2018

Who it Caters to

GB-1-The-Gardens-Between-capture-560x315 The Gardens Between - PlayStation 4 Review
Do you remember those childhood moments of meeting friends, hanging out with them and moving on as time went by? It’s a feeling many people go through, but often, we don’t dwell on those memories and/or equally just forget about them entirely as we get older. In The Gardens Between, the main focus is telling a story of past experiences that two young friends have seemed to forgotten as time marches forward to darker tides. For those who love whimsical tales wrapped in a puzzle game, The Gardens Between will be the perfect title for you to tug at your heart strings and make you sit back and think of all the moments of your own youth. With simple controls but intuitive puzzles, The Gardens Between caters to all those who prefer simpler games that focus on unspoken narrative rather than complex and frustrating puzzles.

What to Expect

GB-1-The-Gardens-Between-capture-560x315 The Gardens Between - PlayStation 4 Review
The Gardens Between is a movement-based puzzle game with an emphasis on storytelling than challenging puzzles. Players will move a couple of friends forward and backwards on various maps that require the player to reach the end of an area with a lit lantern. Along the way, players will need to move time forward and backwards as well as use area devices to control the environments and open a path forward. The Gardens Between has no death system or a timer-based theme to ensure players enjoy a simple puzzle title with no need for constant frustration or anger. If you’re the type of gamer that hates looking up walkthroughs for tough puzzles or wants a more story driven experience in their puzzle title, then look no further than The Gardens Between.


GB-1-The-Gardens-Between-capture-560x315 The Gardens Between - PlayStation 4 Review
Two young friends—Frendt and Arina—have found themselves transported into a strange world. Together, the duo must relive memories of their past in order to find a way back home. What lies in this strange dream world made of good memories, childhood moments and turbulent moments? Arina and Frendt will soon learn as they adventure through this weird world. What journey awaits them in The Gardens Between?


GB-1-The-Gardens-Between-capture-560x315 The Gardens Between - PlayStation 4 Review
Puzzle games come in a variety of types and flavors in the gaming landscape. You can have games like Fez, which are simple 2D puzzle titles that require little input from players and you can have titles like Braid where movement is based on rewinding and fast-forwarding time. The Gardens Between falls in between—no pun intended—both of these titles with a simple gameplay formula that requires literally only the use of the analog stick and the X button. However, does The Gardens Between do a good job of creating an initiative puzzler despite the simple method? We here at Honey’s Anime plan on answering that very question in our review of The Gardens Between for the PS4.

The Gardens Between has players control Arina and Frendt, our two main children protagonists. For reasons unknown, they have been sent into a strange realm built upon their memories long forgotten and they must traverse this dream-like world to escape and find a means back home. However, that isn’t to say The Gardens Between feels like a race to return from whence these kids came from, but instead, it’s meant to show the players memories of two best friends and the life they’ve lived, good and bad. Yet, to navigate this strange place, time is essential in the sense that movement and puzzle solving requires a great finesse of time manipulation.

Within The Gardens Between, players move the duo forward and backwards using the left analog stick and that in turn moves time forward and backwards depending on your input. Developer The Voxel Agents created an interesting mechanic that makes players move time ahead and back to solve puzzles along the way. For example, the main item you’ll always need to complete each level is a white lantern that must be lit by a strange orb-like light. Along the way though lies grey mists and odd orb stealing voids that will hinder your progress. The player will need to occasionally manipulate movement alongside artifacts that affect the dream-like environment to create perfect opportunities to progress forward without being stopped. It might sound a bit strange but after the very first area you explore, The Gardens Between becomes something you master almost immediately thanks to simple controls that almost anyone could pick up and play.

Now that being said, The Gardens Between uses time manipulation very well, but equally, might not appeal to all hard-core puzzle elitists because of how simple this game ultimately is. While puzzles occasionally might require a bit of mental fortitude—especially as you near the finale after a three-four-hour run—there never is a sense of frustration while playing The Gardens Between. The main focus in The Gardens Between is silent narration that makes the player see Arina and Frendt’s story first and foremost. All the levels in The Gardens Between are made from their childhood memories meaning you’ll have areas filled with cardboard boxes with doodles on them to seesaws and walls with images drawn on them. Though due to the movement theme, the removal of death and or having to restart an area because you made a mistake, The Gardens Between is just relaxing and often quite easy.

Ultimately though, even with The Gardens Between being so easy and simple, it actually works due to the way puzzles are laid out and the setting in which they lie in. The Gardens Between is vibrant and whimsical which makes solving puzzles equally feel the same. Every area, every map and every situation feels different due to the memories represented in a particular place and it makes for a truly fun and enjoyable experience. The music also helps immensely with a strong soundtrack that keeps the story constantly moving and keeps you immersed while it treks onwards. Despite there not being a single vocal moment of dialogue or even any text narration, with the imagery and music working in conjunction together, The Gardens Between keeps your eyes locked on the screen and your controller gripped tightly as you begin to piece together the story being presented.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

GB-1-The-Gardens-Between-capture-560x315 The Gardens Between - PlayStation 4 Review
If we learned anything from The Gardens Between, it’s that puzzle games don’t always need to be complex or tough to be enjoyable. Despite an extremely simple gameplay set up, The Gardens Between makes you think just enough to be fun and intuitive. Despite a very short gameplay length, The Gardens Between didn’t once make us want to toss our controllers out the window in frustration or annoyance. Often, we found ourselves calmed by the story and puzzles making the whole experience one we won’t forget for a little while. We fully recommend picking up The Gardens Between if you need a nice and mellow puzzler that won’t leave you looking up walkthroughs or crying in agony.

Honey's Pros:

  • Enjoyable gameplay using a simple but intuitive theme of rewinding/fast forwarding time
  • Cute story with a nice friendship theme
  • Vibrant colors and visuals
  • Puzzles won’t cause you to get overly annoyed or frustrated
  • Relaxing but powerful OST

Honey's Cons:

  • Might be a bit too easy for hard core puzzle gamers
  • A little on the short side

Honey's Final Verdict:

GB-1-The-Gardens-Between-capture-560x315 The Gardens Between - PlayStation 4 Review
The Gardens Between enchanted us with a relatable story of childhoods come and gone. While it might test your mental fortitude like other puzzle games do, The Gardens Between challenges you just enough to keep you invested in the gameplay to keep progressing the story towards the end. We’re sure many of you will love The Gardens Between and hope you’ll also pick it up when it drops on the 20th of this month! Are you going to pick up The Gardens Between? Let us know why in the comments below and for all your game reviews and article needs, be sure to keep stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime!

GB-1-The-Gardens-Between-capture-560x315 The Gardens Between - PlayStation 4 Review


Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

Previous Articles

Top 5 Anime by Aaron