The Guardians Between is a stunning adventure-puzzle game with a unique premise. It tells the tale of Arina and Frendt falling into a series of island gardens that feature objects from their childhood. The journey told examines the power of their friendship on each other and allows them to explore what their time together means. It is a very serene game and one that makes players think about not only what is going on in the game, but eventually makes you ponder your own life. The use of two characters at one time definitely evokes a bit of Brothers: A Tale of Two Worlds, where their importance to one another and growth was explored from the beginning to the end of the adventure.
With The Gardens Between, you have a time-based mechanic that allows you to undo bad actions and eventually figure out the correct solution - resulting in things that were accidentally broken being fixed, or allowing the player to manipulate the exact timing of a single item in the world to solve a puzzle. There is one part where you have to saw through a piece of wood and in order to complete the puzzle, you have to move the saw up and down using the time mechanic. Similarly, avoiding disaster will also require the use of time-bending and ensures that both characters will remain safe for the duration of the adventure.
The game's minimalist approach to its visuals and storytelling stands in stark contrast to what we see in many games. Most developers set out to tell a story and explain every single part of it in painstaking detail. Doing this tends to ensure that every story beat and character relationship is known, but can also insult the intelligence of players by spelling things out too much. Part of the fun of any story-driven narrative, whether it be a game, a book, or movie is taking what is presented to you and interpreting the events. When no wiggle room is left for one's imagination, it can hurt the experience because there is no room to interpret what's going on beyond what is seen – hurting the investment in what's happening.
The Gardens Between uses a simplistic, but gorgeous art style as well. The end result is a consistent look to everything - with just enough detail to show off real-life objects, but in a way that is highly stylized. Character and item animation is impressive and quite smooth too - showing off a high level of care and attention to detail.
The Gardens Between is available now on Linux via Steam, PC via Steam, as well on the digital storefronts of both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. It's rare to see a narrative-heavy game like this get such a wide release on launch, but in doing so, it could result in the game reaching a far greater audience. It can pull from four distinct userbases and play to the strengths of every release platform as well. On Linux, PC, and PS4, you have the ability to fully-engross yourself in the world in front of your TV and spend a day absorbing the game. On Switch, you have the benefit of not only doing that but also enjoying it on the go - so something like a long commute can be made far more enjoyable by throwing yourself into the game anywhere you are and passing the time much faster.