Imagination is about questioning, celebrating and engaging what we can see by using what we can’t. A great way to do this is through making the familiar unfamiliar. It allows us to make that connection to what might be. That’s why we love Manifold Garden as a game. It puts that essential twist on the known, opening up whole worlds of possibility.
The title’s MC Escher influences are obvious, thanks to its apparently impossible architecture and never-ending buildings. Players are left to explore the environment, collecting cube-shaped ‘fruit’ and use it as switches to unlock new paths and rooms.
The focus is on appreciating the architecture that fills the world, and often defies explanation – for example Tardis-like towers that are bigger on the inside than the out. There’s little element of risk either. If a player slips off a ledge or a bridge, they simply fall through space until they land in the same spot again. Line-drawn graphics are reminiscent of living blueprints, and help to emphasise the architectural shapes.
Manifold Garden is designed by artist, and former circus performer, William Chyr, who began work on the title in 2012.
Across the course of its development he’s shared regular updates on the game, showing how it’s progressed from an awkward early prototype to the ‘mindbending and visually compelling’ experience it is now.