Manifold Garden, Analysis. The infinite Rubik’s cube

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We know this unique puzzle game in the first person seasoned by a precious artistic section that has surprised us. Well executed simplicity.

The puzzle genre never ceases to amaze us. In one way or another, the possibilities of ingenuity through electronic entertainment are indefinite and do not seem to have an expiration date; especially when we see that proposals such as Portal continue to be a reference and reference for productions both large and within the emerging independent scene. Manifold Garden is one of those ideas that comes almost without warning and that, at the same time, we love for its simplicity.

William Chyr is the creator of this work, which we can define as a giant —mayuscule— puzzle game in the first person where everything is measured, paradoxically, in its proper measure. A Rubik’s cube made into a video game. And we say this because, despite the magnitude of the settings and the majesty of the set, it is sophisticated. Both at the design level and on the visual plane, which enters the large screen through the eyes. After its passage through PC, consoles and mobile devices, we faced these scarce three hours of experience on Xbox Series S, whose SSD memory and Xbox Velocity Architecture have made loading times disappear. Needless to say, the game’s recommendation is guaranteed, but let us explain why.

Sometimes the solution is simply to jump into the void: understanding Manifold Garden
Why do something artificially complex if through simplicity you can gain complexity? This is what Manifold Garden seems to want to tell us at the controls, that it does not explode in the individual design of its puzzles, but it does get it right when you add up all those little individual parts. The challenge is there; the considerably progressive difficulty curve is too. The use of three-dimensionality is total.

Manifold Garden proposes us to solve challenges through the use of gravity, colors and a cubic system that serves as the backbone of everything. Here there are no deaths, no lives, no damage counters or time meters. We just have to take our time, think and… move on. Get. Where? That doesn’t matter, we just have to let ourselves go.

As soon as we start we will see each other inside a room, between four walls. We see everything in the first person; we can walk and touch the interactive elements of the environment, which are governed by a color scheme where only that of the same color responds to a stimulus. Meanwhile, gravity, which can be activated on any of the walls. Do you see that ceiling? It can be the ground if you first turn the stage ninety degrees and then turn the stage another ninety degrees. Wow. The first time is weird, but it’s also satisfying.

Next, you will see a huge blue hole and a box of that same color. What if we place it in that huge hole? Then a door opens … and you move forward. Steps, green boxes, yellow switches, and red intersections now appear. From wall to wall, from cube to cube, from stage to stage. It is like a Rubik’s cube, with color patterns that serve as a key to open doors. It’s simple, you don’t need dialogues and that’s why you don’t use them. Manifold Garden dispenses with everything you don’t need to be naturally minimalist. Essentially effective. Purely satisfying. It is almost mathematical, so it is a pity that there will not be any moment in the scarce three hours it lasts, because it seems to want to explode and cannot. It stays in the remarkable when it could have been even more.


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