There’s an aesthetic principle applied in a certain style of Japanese gardening meant to conceal or hide aspects of a landscape from any given angle, so that visitors must walk through the garden to experience it in its entirety. It’s an aesthetic decision that turns observers into participants. Guests in the garden must physically move through its space to admire all the different elements at work; a fence obscuring a fountain, a temple behind a hill, a patch of flowers nestled beyond a dense grove of bamboo. During the course of a traversal, things once hidden come into view. Secrets are uncovered. New knowledge found.
This principle is called “miegakure,” and it is also the name of Marc ten Bosch’s upcoming puzzle game. In Miegakure, levels are not what they seem at first glance. There are elements unseeable from every conceivable angle, that is, until the unfathomable fourth dimension is called to map the way. “Triggering” the fourth spatial dimension will allow players to move across previously intangible planes and reach previously unreachable places.
Miegakure, which means “hide and reveal,” employs the same principles of the gardening technique as mechanisms for the its puzzles. What you can’t see is still there to be uncovered. It just requires some participation.
What makes Miegakure engrossing is the way Bosch presents the unseeable fourth dimension with an almost disturbing grace, as if the man himself has witnessed it with his own eyes, and is only attempting to visualize it for the rest of us. Every screenshot, GIF, and video that has come out of this work-in-progress feels like it makes sense. Stone walls rip, fold, and then wrench away from themselves into separate structures. The ground ripples and expands to bear new forms. A grassy plane morphs into a barren desert, a casual trading of interdimensional places. And every time, I look, and I think, “Yes. Of course. That is what would happen.”
All this is to say: I can’t wait for Miegakure, and even more so after reading Bosch’s latest update. It’s from May (but only recently shared), mind you, but the numbers Bosch shares are still impressive: 140 puzzles so far.
I’m not one for throwing around numbers as a measure of a game’s greatness, and I don’t think Bosch is doing that here either. But 140 puzzles rooted entirely in this hypnotizing mathematical wonder? It’s been clear from the way Bosch has spoken about his game in the past, too, that this isn’t a cheap gimmick. The foundation of Miegakure is sound. When I played back in November of last year, it just worked.
Bosch also offers a handy graphic, charting all the different puzzle types based on the particular mechanics utilized. “The colors indicate main mechanics and the subcolors indicate relative difficulty within a mechanic,” writes Bosch, while noting that some levels contain overlapping mechanics. He goes on to explain the way parts of the game he expected to be underdeveloped are actually much richer than he imagined, while other areas turned out less interesting than planned. I can only imagine what a “mediocre” puzzle looks like in the reality-bending madness of Miegakure.
At this point, Bosch is working on polishing up the visuals so the game looks as fantastic as it should. He also has a new screenshot to show off:
It might not look like anything out of the ordinary is occurring here, but you might be surprised.
Read the full blog post on Marc ten Bosch’s website.