Manifold Garden is a first person exploration puzzle game developed and published by ‘William Chyr Studio‘. Manifold Garden came out August 2020 on the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PS4. October 2020 on PC. Most importantly Manifold Garden is said to be coming to Xbox Series X November 10th 2020 BUT not the PS5. Once again another game that’s coming to the Xbox Series but not the PS5. There’s a trend here. Now this game looks real cool. Let’s take a look. 

Manifold Garden is strange but cool. The story is… well… there isn’t really one from what we know. We do know that one of your main objectives is to restore this world, which has been described as barren, with vegetation and life. So maybe something happened that caused it to go barren or maybe it always was barren and you are somehow there to make a difference. Maybe. So all of that is mystery and not the focus of the game at all beside the garden/vegatation part.

Here is the entire description for the game, “Rediscover gravity and explore a beautiful Escher-esque world of impossible architecture. Geometry repeats infinitely in every direction, and falling down leads you back to where you started. Manipulate gravity to change your perspective and see the world in new ways. Master the rules of the universe…”. Now this is short and leaves out a lot but also says quite a bit too. Pay attention. This game is all about exploration. It’s a massive world that expands and pretty much keeps on going. Players have to get around the place but not by natural means.

It’s emphasises that physics don’t work normally here. Rediscover gravity means gravity can now swap, change and maybe even bend or not be there at all in certain places. The buildings have some of the most unreality but creative designs. The world itself has been described as infinite, so constantly moving in one direction won’t make a difference. Fall damage is non-existent. Matter of fact if you fall down, you will get back to where you “started”. Not only is gravity weird but you will have ways to change and mess with gravity yourself.

You can literally just walk up to a wall to start walking along it like it doesn’t matter. When you activate certain panels or area with the blocks you see the same colour run through what can be described as a circuit route to a door or whatever to activate it. Giving players clear directions and indications of what triggers what. The designs of the structures in the distance or nearby shows you that there is some resemblance to real structures but clearly impossible. You get to see how large the place is and that you won’t reach the end of the world anytime soon. You can even jump of the edge of your platform to fall to reach the other side because when you fall you land back where you were. It makes players have to open their minds more to get creative for what’s needed.

The green badge is here. You know what that means. Manifold Garden is one of those “Games built using the Xbox Series X development kit are designed to take advantage of the unique capabilities of the Xbox Series X. They will showcase unparalleled load-times, visuals, responsiveness, and framerates up to 120 FPS.” It’s optimised for the Xbox Series S too. Not only that but Manifold Greens has ‘Smart Delivery’. So if you bought it for the Xbox One, you will get it automatically on the Xbox Series X. 

We checked out some Manifold Garden gameplay and it looks real cool. There are small cubes with arrows on them which allows you to control various things around the world. For example they send signals to open doors, effect water, paths, gravity, move entire structures. All to solve puzzles and make your way around. It’s a growing world and there’s lots of mechanisms here. Lots of creativity. Sort not reminds us of Sable but off course going for a more chaotic, physics, puzzle world where things don’t have to make sense but the mechanisms do. It’s definitely a journey with no direction but an objective. The graphic style works very well here and makes things more defined and solid with the heavy lines design. The sounds though are very nice and suit what’s going on and quiet at times during puzzles for peaceful thinking. 

Overall Manifold Garden looks like a very good game. Simple in concept and design but complex in what goes on. We like that you go at your own pace and things are quite peaceful. The puzzles don’t seem too difficult or mind bending. It’s different from what’s out there currently for the most part. The developers ‘William Chyr Studio’ have done a very good job with this game. We at X35 Earthwalker look forward to seeing what this games got. Now Manifold garden may have a limitless world but it’s embarrassingly limited when compared to… the ‘Earth Walk!’ 

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Lost Ember

Lost Ember is a new adventure exploration game developed by ‘Mooneye Studios‘. It is coming out in spring  2019 on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC (and Windows 10). Lost Ember has gotten lots of attention. It has even gotten lots of nominee and won some awards already. Let’s check this out.

In Lost Ember, players get to explore a world that has been taken back from mankind by nature. So don’t expect any people around here. Players control a wolf but not just any wool. This wolf has the ability to inhabit other animals and control them. This is where the different perspectives come from. First of all how comes this wolf has the power to control other animals? Did this wolf use to be a person? A nature mage or something? Hopefully the game explains this.

Lost Ember

Off course, since this is a exploration game and man is gone, there will be ancient cultures, ruins, forgotten civilizations and more for players to check out and learn what happened, secrets of this world and what’s going on. So being a wolf has the obvious advantages of being fast. So you can cross areas quickly and get from point A to point B. You will come across areas where the wolf cannot go, like high ledges for example. Taking over a bird solves this problem as you can then fly up to see what’s up there.

Control small animals to go through tight spaces, control a fish so that you can explore the waters because wolves can’t go that deep with dying. Even control moles who then can dig underground. Who knows, you may find a cavern or a diamond pick axe (get it?). Either way the main concept of the game is clear and simple. Run around and explore but if there is somewhere the wolf can’t go then control the right animal for the job. Simple. Explore and learn about this mighty civilisation that has fallen and learn about certain characters from the past.

Lost Ember

Now let’s talk some details because games like this, we are sure you know the formula by now, so there isn’t much to really say about it. It’s an exploration game with some mystery. Lost ember is built using Unreal Engine and they did a good job because the looks and art style is one of the main things that got so many people’s attention. Many have said it’s a beautiful game and others have made some really big claims about it’s beauty (calm down now).

Lost Ember will also be compatible with VR (Virtual reality). People have asked and they delivered. The game has been tested with HTC Vive and Oculus Rift and according to the developers “it’s awesome”. They are also looking into being compatible with PlayStation VR. Lastly gamers can pre-orderfrom two options: the regular where you get a digital copy of the game and two karma points which you can spend to unlock free rewards. The digital plus bundle gives you a digital copy of the game with the digital soundtrack and art book along with 4 karma points. Take note that pre-orders for windows is only available right now.

We checked out some gameplay and it’s what we expected. We expected a colourful world, lights, animals and fictional stuff like creating structures a light companion etc. It looks very nice. Not as impressed as those critics were though. This game reminds us of the other exploration games we have already written about. We haven’t seen anything that makes us want to play Lost Ember though. Fans of exploration will probably love this and rightfully so. Once again it’s down to the gamers and their taste.

Overall lost Ember looks like a good game. Designed well, people waiting for it, supported and will have VR. Definitely got some stuff going for it. It isn’t our thing though and we believe it needs more going on in the world for it to be exciting. Exploration doesn’t mean that’s all the game should have. It needs to stand out from the others. The developers ‘Mooneye Studios’ clearly did a good job with this game. We at X35 Earthwalker are not looking forward to Lost Ember but we know for a fact there are some who are. Now lost Ember has a wolf that can control other animals and that’s cool but it’s lame when compared to… the ‘Earth Walk!’

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Shape of the World

Shape of the world is a new first person exploration game developed by ‘Hollo Tree Games‘. Shape of the world is coming out the 6th of June on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch but coming out the 5th of June on the Mac, PS4 and PC. This game is said to get people away from the real world. Let’s take a look.

Shape of the world is very different from majority other games. How? Well in Shape of the world there is no perils, enemies, puzzles, platforming or challenges etc. It’s literally just about exploring, looking around, getting lost, taking in the sights, having a good time and all at the players own pace. That’s right, no timer or anything. It’s just like Abzu which was all about exploration too with no enemies but all under water.

The world in Shape of the world is very much alive. There are colours everywhere. Games like this have learnt and applied the fact that big and colourful worlds with lots going on seem to pull people in the most. Lots or procedurally populated plants which means as you travel, expect a bunch of different plants everywhere. It really does change from place to place so stop and take a look. Also there are lots of different creatures as well. We have seen some that look like round ghosts, there are some slowly flying dolphins, larger but harmless worms and much more.

Shape of the World

It’s all about the player in Shape of the world. The world doesn’t even live without the player. Mainly thanks to the interaction. For example if you come across a forest, you will notice that as you get near to it, it begins to grow and come to life. The forest will also regrow in a new and different way. So players are advised to retrace their steps over time to see what new stuff they see.

We checked out some gameplay and even though the whole point of the Shape of the World is very simple, the gameplay itself is deeper than you think. Players actions will  change and altar the world in big ways, so experiment. Players can also interact with Ephemeral flora, Grand monoliths and even some creatures. So it isn’t as simple as you would think. There is quite a lot to do but it has been said that Shape of the World is a 1-3 hour game, off course depending on the players pace through the game.

Overall, Shape of the World is a very cool game. The visuals and graphics are great for what it is. The music was done excellently as it’s responsive and changes according to where you are in terms of location. The developers ‘Hollow Tree Games’ did a excellent job with this game. We at X35 Earthwalker are not looking forward to this game as it’s not our style at all but we know others will love this. Now exploration is important but the one thing worth exploring is… the ‘Earth Walk’.

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