Manifold Garden: what you actually do in this glorious Escher-scape

Manifold Garden

Manifold Garden [official site] is a game I’ve had my eye on for a while but I realise I’ve been treating it more as an aesthetic curio than a game. It was only when I was watching the latest dev video summing up nearly a year of progress that I realised what playing it actually entails – cubes growing into trees and recursive bonsai save worlds are just a couple of the cool things involved!

I think there’s not much else to say aside from how the game’s aesthetic continues to delight me. I keep imagining having screengrabs from the game as fabric prints I can use to make clothes or as wallpaper for an accent wall which you can’t look at when you’re a bit tipsy because it’s too confusing. It’s one of those games where the release will obviously be nice but there’s a surprising amount of pleasure from just seeing it in development in a way that you don’t get with a lot of games. It’s not just a hype cycle, it’s enjoyable as a thing in its own right.

But that is probably not a helpful perspective for Games Business Money Things and so: Manifold Garden is expected to be released on Windows/Mac/Linux/PS4 later this year and will bring you a sort of gravity-manipulation Escher garden to play with.

In the meantime the TIGForum thread for the game is here and following it gives me a lot of pleasure :)

11 Comments

  1. ropeladder says:

    Looks like it has potential but it also looks like a lot like Antichamber, which honestly left a fairly bad taste in my mouth. (10% coolness, 90% frustration)

    • williamchyr says:

      Hey, it’s William, the developer of Manifold Garden. Manifold Garden does share some similarities with Antichamber (spatial puzzles, minimalist aesthetics), but is ultimately a very different game. Whereas Antichamber had a big focus on psychology and mind tricks, Manifold Garden focuses more on architecture and systems. I’m curious to hear what you found frustrating about Antichamber?

  2. Darth Gangrel says:

    “I’m not that drunk,” *looks at accent wall*, “okay, maybe I am a bit tipsy”.

    Those drunkenness testing apps ain’t got nothing on this!

    • Stinnaz says:

      I’d ask you how you find these things, but I guess it is actually your job! Nice find anyway. :)

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        Yes, it is indeed my job to read through RPS’s articles and unleash whatever associations my mind brings me onto the comments section. It doesn’t pay well (or at all), but the hours are great.

  3. Rumpelstiltskin says:

    I have to say I’m skeptical about constant gravity changes. It can lead to many inconsistencies (since the concept itself is too inconsistent with the laws of physics)

    • williamchyr says:

      Manifold Garden developer here :)

      Can you explain a bit more your concern regarding inconsistencies?

      The player has complete control over when and which gravity to change to. There are only 6 in the game, along the primary 3 axes. The game does have its own set of physics that’s different from the real world, but the rules are self-consistent (maintaining consistency is a large part of why the game has taken over 4 years to make so far).

      An example of how the game strives to maintain consistency with the rules is at the 1:46 mark in the video: link to youtu.be The world wraps around on itself, and when the player falls off a ledge, they’ll find themselves falling back to where they fell off. Cubes are also affected by the shape of the world, and they will loop back independently of the player’s actions.

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    DantronLesotho says:

    Glad to see that the gameplay is just as perplexing and interesting as the graphics look :D

    • williamchyr says:

      Thanks! Yeah, I’ve only recently started to share more about the gameplay. Have been focusing mostly on the visuals up until now.

  5. cpt_freakout says:

    Looks fantastic!