[PlayStation 4] Manifold Garden Review
Manifold Garden from William Chyr Studio is an M.C. Escher infused first-person puzzle experience that you have to check out on PlayStation 4. Learn why in our Manifold Garden review!
Manifold Garden from William Chyr Studio is a game that was has been in the works for a very long time now. We got a first look at the game proper way back in 2015, and it’s now out on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in 2020. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the game’s trailer was the work of M.C. Escher. In fact, the game was first known as Relativity, taking inspiration from the classic print of the same name from the artist. The moment I stepped into the world of Manifold Garden on PS4, I was hooked. The way each location is structured, how new puzzles are presented, the overall feel of the relaxing yet intriguing loneliness of this new world to explore, it all clicked with me right away.
Since this is a first-person adventure, you will move around each area with the left analog stick and use the right one to look. To run, just press and hold down the L2 button. If you need to interact with something, you can do so with the X button. To solve the different puzzles you’ll run into, you’ll have to rotate items clockwise or counterclockwise, which will be done with the R1 and L1 buttons, respectively. The last element to consider is that you can change gravity when needed by pressing the R2 button.
The level design is very interesting and unique since everything in each area is interconnected, and being able to change gravity to move around to solve each puzzle really makes you think outside the box. See a ledge in front of you that you can’t reach since there’s no jump button? Well, take a running start and fall into the abyss… only to have the level loop onto itself, allowing you to fall on top of that ledge so that you can open the door in front of you and carry on with your journey!
But what if there’s, say, a cube on the ceiling that is needed to power up a door on the right wall, but the block has that point towards where it will fall when you change gravity? Then perhaps you should look at the other cube in the room that can be placed near the goal for the first cube, so that when you switch gravity, and the first cube with the arrows starts to fall, it falls on top of the second cube, thus powering up the line that goes to the door that you have to open to change to a new room.
When you pause the game, you can activate Photo Mode, which will allow you to set a variety of parameters to switch up how the world on the screen will look. You can change the projection, field of view, brightness, contrast, light intensity, fade, hue, saturation, and value for the background color and the ambient color, mess around with the thickness and style of edges, change the hue, saturation, and value of edges, add some old-school film grain and set one of the 12 different filters. Once you’re happy with your composition – or if you want to live on the edge and press the R3 button to randomize all values – you can hide the UI with the Square button and then press the Share button on your DualShock 4 controller to capture the moment.
Manifold Garden presents to us a world with a minimalist look inspired by the work of M.C. Escher, and it’s packed with sharp linework, a variety of shapes, and a palette of colors that changes as you switch gravity around to solve each puzzle that you find. It’s an overall relaxing experience that will keep you engaged as you push forward to the next area, going from color to color as you unlock the dark cube at the end that will allow you to create a new environment. Manifold Garden is out on PlayStation 4 with a $19.99 asking price.
This Manifold Garden review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by William Chyr Studio.