At the close of this longest of summers, in The Gardens Between are those feelings for the friends we’ve lost along the way.
The Voxel Agents’ 2018 puzzle game relies on an impressively designed set of time manipulation mechanics to drive its story of early age love and loss. Across a couple of hours of play these puzzles build on a theme, moving time back and forth to allow the kids (Arina and Frendt) to climb rocks, and send the stars to the sky. Everything in the path of the two buddies is made to become a cosmic memory, constellations of idealised childhood whimsy.
This eventually crystalises into something that admittedly caught me off guard, punching me in the heart, heavy with all the friendships I lost growing up, and the things I did or failed to do in those moments. After a summer in which I’ve once again lost close contact with a lot of friends, forced to disperse to protect each other as we finished uni, The Gardens Between cradled me in the wistfulness of those losses and the odd, perfect beauty of friendship.