Manifold Garden review | A matter of perspective

An engaging puzzler with a stunning architectural premise, Manifold Garden is a true must-play. Our review…


Manifold Garden is a game in love with space and architecture. It’s a game about playing with those things, but also one that wants you to share its love by enjoying the aesthetic pleasure of simply existing within it. And you will.

Each of the game’s intricately designed spaces are infinite. Gaze over a ledge, and you’ll see the spot you’re occupying repeated ad infinitum into the distance. Walk off a ledge, and you’ll fall through that space over and over again until you pick a spot to land on. The very idea of falling off a ledge is complicated by the fact that Manifold Garden allows you to change which way is down, providing the basis for some complex multidimensional puzzling and a spatial philosophy reminiscent of M.C. Escher (forgive us the obvious reference, but it’s too apt to let lie).

Within these physics-defying spaces, Manifold Garden creates awe-inspiring pieces of architecture that reference, but never quite replicate, a host of styles. Clean brutalist megastructures, futuristic temples, and Zen-like gardens collide to create a coherent vision which can best be described as a kind of sci-fi-modernism. These places are an aesthetic joy, both beautiful and, occasionally, even a little unsettling in the incredible sense of scale they are able to evoke.

Manifold Garden’s world is evocative and impressionistic, shying away from any overt explanation about what this space is or how it operates, and that extends to its puzzling. Save for a couple of very basic control prompts, the game doesn’t tell you how its puzzles work. It doesn’t need to, because it’s well-designed enough to let you learn by doing. The foundation of its puzzle system is that objects can only be interacted with while you occupy the same plane.

When you switch gravity to change which way is down, the floor changes colour as a kind of key-code to orientate you. Blue switches can only be pressed to open the corresponding door when you are standing on a blue floor – in other words in the ‘blue’ dimension or plane. Coloured cubes are quickly introduced that can only be picked up when you are standing in that dimension, and the interactions between your dimension switching and these differently coloured cubes get gradually more complex as new ideas are layered on top.

Difficulty is exceptionally well-balanced. The permutations that the game’s multidimensional nature allows for could easily have made it overwhelming and frustrating, but that’s not the case. When walking into a new area, you might often feel like what you’ve been confronted with is impossibly complex, but a few minutes of playing around and you realise the game has subtly armed you with the knowledge you need to get a handle on it, while also stretching you far enough to keep you feeling challenged and engaged.
Manifold Garden is a very good puzzle game. As an aesthetic object, however, it’s exceptional. I enjoyed its intellectual challenge, but it’s that artistic vision that sticks with you and makes it into something special.


It would be easy to overlook the sound design in a game that looks as good as this. Note the way the echo of the thump when you land after a long fall helps emphasise the scale of the game’s spaces, however, and you’ll see how much work it’s doing.


Stunning architectural marvels take Manifold Garden’s cleverly designed puzzling into another dimension.


Genre: Puzzle
Format: PC (tested) / Mac / iOS / PS4
Developer: William Chyr Studio
Publisher: William Chyr Studio
Price: £15.99
Release: Out now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More like this