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Review: The Gap (Switch) – A Bit Basic, But Still A Gripping Narrative Mystery

Following a mysterious ‘walking sim’ path similar to those trodden by and , Slovenian developer Label This’ debut game, , doesn’t necessarily feel like anything revolutionary, but it’s an engaging narrative experience that we’d suggest you consider picking up.

The plot here places you in the role of Josh, a highly respected neuroscientist who’s struggling with his marriage and family falling apart. Josh is doggedly pursuing something he’s called “The Cure” which he believes will save his family, though all his family sees is a man increasingly consumed and isolated by his ‘research’. The thing is, Josh has seemingly discovered the multiverse and a way of jumping into neighboring realities. This has left his mind profoundly broken, unable to easily discern between memory and reality after crossing dimensions. So, you set out to put together all the pieces and try to make sense not just of where Josh has come from, but where he may go if this cure he’s been after isn’t so fictional after all.

It’s a bit of a difficult story to parse initially, but that’s part of the charm of its design. Like Josh, we don’t know up from down at first, so much of the first hour or so is spent trying to answer basic questions. Why do we keep coming back to this ruined apartment? Who’s Blake? Are these ‘other worlds’ actually real? The mystery is part of what makes the experience so gripping, as nearly every answer you’re given leads to three more questions. Eventually, there comes a turning point where you ‘get it’ and then the game becomes a matter of filling in the blanks as the bigger picture is made clear.

All of this is to say, it’s a well-paced and compelling narrative that’s a bit let down by relatively basic puzzle design. Every now and then, you’ll need to find a specific clue in order to complete a memory, such as getting the passcode to a tablet or figuring out which rabbit Josh needs to pick out of a litter, but these ‘puzzles’ are really no more than brief speed bumps that add a few minutes each to the total playtime.

The visuals could also use a bit of work. There’s some pretty egregious stair-stepping along the edges of most models, and textures tend to take a few seconds to load in. You may be examining a newspaper clipping you have to read, but you’ll sit staring at a shapeless gray sludge for a bit before it finally loads in as readable text.

The Gap may suffer from some overly basic puzzle design and visual ticks, but this is ultimately an enjoyably mysterious narrative that’s still worth the few hours it takes to see through. Its launch price feels a bit high for what’s on offer here, but we’d suggest scooping this one up the first time it goes on sale.