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Games The O.D. on Games

The O.D. on Games: The Gardens Between and Picross S2

Rulerofowls (ROW) and Owl Piece (OP) discuss the latest puzzle games they played on the Nintendo Switch: The Gardens Between, which costs 1999 owlians (19.99 euros), and Picross S2, which costs 899 owlians (8.99 euros).

  • ROW: So, fall is finally here! Besides the breeze autumn wind coming in to replace the insufferable heat of summer, we also get to play new video games instead of old ones! But, before we get to those, there are a couple of smaller titles we both played and want to discuss; let’s get the known commodity out of the way first!
  • OP: I think that’s a bit unfair to Picross S2 because, even though it’s more Picross, it is actually subtly different this time around and better!
  • ROW: Yes, it has a new mode—which isn’t that great, but it is interesting and has potential to be expanded upon—but I don’t see how it is any different from Picross S!
  • OP: Well, besides the new mode, it is far better in its puzzle difficulty than Picross S; they now have a progressive curve that eases newcomers in and steadily ramps up the challenge, unlike Picross S which had weird and sudden spikes in difficulty. Beyond that, the new interactive tutorials for Picross and Mega-Picross are far better, covering necessary information and allows the player to interact with it, in order to understand it better; for me, this was the game that made me comfortable playing Mega-Picross.
  • ROW: Right, but it is still Picross on the Switch; they are both solid!
  • OP: I disagree. Picross S2 has subtle changes that make it far better like being able to clearly understand the difference between 11 and 1 1, which often confused me in the previous Picross (especially in handheld mode). S2 also adds a dedicated counting button, so you don’t have to do it by eye and memory; it is clearly something made with feedback in mind and a better understanding of the console and how people play Picross on the Switch. So, in my mind, S2 is so much better than Picross S, it’s not worth considering getting S over S2; you should definitely get S2 and if you want more Picross, then get S.
  • ROW: …Okay, you definitely have put a lot of thought into Picross!
  • OP: I love Picross! I also really like The Gardens Between!
  • ROW: First, that’s a terrible Segway leave those to me next time; Second, I too really like Gardens Between.
  • OP: It’s such a good 3 hour pallet cleanser of a game; it’s charming and beautifully animated, really inventive and efficient with new mechanics and establishing rules and interactions without having tutorials and text. It sounds excellent and also tells a rather bare bones narrative, which still manages to be emotional and worthwhile!
  • ROW: The thing that surprised me the most is how immaculately paced it is! In 3 hours, the game established the main mechanics (namely that you control the flow of time, not the characters, and that each of the two characters have unique interactions, only they are able to perform) and has unique mechanics for most levels or reuses old mechanics in new ways. Essentially, this is a 3 hour experience that always feels new and inventive, but also progress in a meaningful and satisfying way, until its thematically appropriate but lackluster (in terms of gameplay) ending.
  • OP: Yeah, that ending was bittersweet in both narrative and how anticlimactic the gameplay was. But, it was a real surprise that they got me to care about the “story”, which is more of a sequence of nostalgic memories rather than an actual narrative, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t affected by the ending. Overall, a really good game, with no real issues as an experience…
  • ROW: But…
  • OP: But, it is 1999 owlians (19.99 euros) and, considering the types of intensely anticipated games coming in this month, I feel that the game would do a lot better and be more suggestible if the price was lower; I’m already counting and saving money and it’s only the 4th of October and Red Dead isn’t even out yet!
  • ROW: Yeah, but I think price is irrelevant in this conversation, and even if it was it would still be worth it in my mind!
  • OP: And in mine, but I fear that this game will go on a lot of Steam Wishlists and stay there for the rest of the year! Which is a shame, but also releasing near so many big releases as a short, charming and worthwhile game is not the best strategic decision.
  • ROW: Yeah, but hopefully it finds its audience and word of mouth can spread and give this game the spotlight and love it deserves. Speaking of which, I hope we gave both of the games we talked about, the love and spotlight they deserve, but it is time to move on and go attend to our responsibilities.
  • OP: Like what?
  • ROW: It’s my turn to go sit on a tree at night and look menacingly towards people.
  • OP: Somebody’s making you do that?! Also, aren’t you the Ruler? Don’t you get to make people do things, not the other way round?
  • ROW: Okay…nobody’s making me do it; I just love doing it!!
  • OP: Whatever! I’ll be over here solving some Picross puzzles if you need me!

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