Good evening everyone, and welcome to the first post of our focus on indies, Nindie Spotlight! Yes, that’s right. Each week I will ramble about one of my favorite Nindies on the Switch. I’m Chelly, and this is your Nindie of the Week — The Gardens Between.
The Gardens Between
The Gardens Between released in August 2019 and yet, still not many people are aware of it. This is a great shame, as I believe it’s an absolutely beautiful game throughout. I think as many people as possible should experience it. But why? I’ll tell you.
A game centered around the power of friendship, The Gardens Between follows best friends, Arina and Frendt, on their journey through a series of surreal, dreamlike island gardens. Each one bringing back nostalgic memories for not only the characters, but for the player too. All have their own specific theme. One may be centered around video games, while another on sports. Now, here’s the part that makes this game totally unique, and unlike anything I’ve ever played before; in The Gardens Between, you don’t control the characters, you control time itself. The very thing that destroys, well… everything, is being used in such a magnificent way.
Each level is set out in a puzzle which can only be completed by forwarding or rewinding time to manipulate the surrounding objects. For example, stopping time while some water is falling to fill an area you can then cross. It’s so hard to explain, but it is so, so clever. You are, in some respects, guiding Arina and Frendt to their goals rather than actually taking them to it. Because of this, they feel more like real people.
Narrative and Soundtrack
The Gardens Between has absolutely no narrative, which I was a little apprehensive about at first, but this just proves the power of storytelling without having to say a single word. The blessing of not having any narrative to follow is that you can interpret what you’re seeing in your very own way, and you will most likely relate it to your own personal life events. We have all had a friend leave at some point, right?
My absolute favorite thing about The Gardens Between is the soundtrack. It’s so mesmerizing and emotional, and I think it may be my favorite soundtrack to any game ever (although Life is Strange comes in at a close second). Oh, and of course I’m listening to the soundtrack while writing this. The feelings it brings just listening to it is outstanding. I literally have butterflies in my stomach. No game has ever had this effect on me so long after playing. It also has the best end credits song I have ever heard but it cannot be purchased anywhere, unfortunately.
Okay, now the very single thing that I wish was different about The Gardens Between, is the length of the game itself. It took me roughly 3 hours to complete. It’s odd, because at no point did I feel the game was rushed. I was satisfied with how it ended and where it ended. But still, 3 hours is a little short for a game priced at £17.99, but I guess it is more quality over quantity, yes?
More Soundtrack and Graphics
The soundtrack complements the gameplay so well and it brings so many emotions to the table as you progress from level to level and the ‘story’ gets deeper and deeper. I spent so long recording videos on my Nintendo Switch just so I could experience the music again and again. Now it has actually been released on CD; Tim Shiels, Glowing Pains: Music from the Gardens Between. Please, if you take anything from this. Let it be that.
Along with its captivating soundtrack, The Gardens Between is also sporting some pretty eye-catching graphics. The art-style is beautiful,full of color, and incredibly charming that I felt completely engrossed in it. Upon starting each level, I was quickly scouring my eyes across the screen just to see what is there.
If you’re looking for a relaxing game that is both emotional and intriguing, then The Gardens Between is your guy. The Voxel Agents have simply done an incredible job of making this Nindie one I will remember for years to come, and I’ve never experienced something quite like that before.
That’s it, folks! There is this week’s Nindie of the Week. Check back next week for a look into another great Nindie title. What are some of your favorite Indie games? Let us know in the comments below! Thank you for visiting SwitchWatch.co.uk. See you next week!