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Potamological potterings, October 9, 2021
Curious, impressionistic piece about time, impermanence, and ‘net channel incision’ (to use a technical term concerning the effect of water mill construction and demolition on the topography of river beds of which I was previously unaware; one learns something new every day).
You play a visitor to the garden of the title, the mill itself having long been demolished, where you can wander through a small number of locations and spend time pruning, tidying, shoring-up and generally fighting entropy while, hard on your heels, time stalks you like a jealous ex-lover and unravels all of your good work as fast as you accomplish it so that you have to continually loop back and start all over again. And all this to the soothing (if bathroom-visit inducing) accompaniment of running water and some pleasing poly art graphics.
As both a game and a story, it’s rather slight, if not unpleasing. One could spend more time than the 20 minutes or so that I spent with it contemplating what it shows us about the futility of existence and suchlike, but it doesn’t really justify the effort (or at least it didn't, for me). “Is this really how you wish to spend your days?” the game asks pointedly, after a few cycles of building up and knocking down, and the answer has to be: no, not really. But as something to while away a quick tea break, it will do just fine.