Review | The Gap

Originally published at: Review | The Gap - XboxEra

The mind can be an infinite portal of realms, doors that lead thoughts to possibilities, and from possibilities to actions that could change your fate and of those around you—or can it? Outside of the infinite loop I presented, developer Label This and publisher Crunching Koalas want to figure out the inner workings of the mind themselves. In their newest title ‘The Gap’, players take on the role of Joshua Hayes, a neuroscientist who finds himself running through the confines of his mind to find a cure for his family and, all the while, unable to really understand that he himself is sick.

Mind the Gap.

Healthy Habits

Joshua’s journey takes players primarily through the remnants of his past, his home being the primary hub of his investigations for the cure. His wife and daughter leave him right at the beginning of the game, leaving you with a house on the verge of collapse. Shattered glass, foodstuffs scattered about, pill bottles empty and all over the place—it doesn’t take long for the player to realise that Joshua himself isn’t what he used to be. As I began walking about the rather beautiful, almost too perfect sceneries of a futuristic home, I slowly picked up on what this loving family looked like before its inhabitants began to succumb to genetic-induced pestilence.

Gameplay in The Gap is primarily puzzle in nature. Players will more or less pick up and investigate just about anything they can find to unlock memories stashed deep within Joshua’s vivid memories. Sometimes you’ll need to piece two-and-two together to trigger another memory that’s locked away (blasted iPhone lock screens) but for the most part you’ll be chaining away from point A to B very naturally. I never got stuck in The Gap sans for the very last part of the game—and I’ll say this now, just know you can interact with the wall of clues that you build in our scientist’s home.

Now one thing I really liked about The Gap is its use of scientific themes (and warping them a bit) to build an intriguing narrative that almost bends ‘time-travel’ with how we perceive the world. I have a fair bit of disdain for the former and what it can do to stories and I can safely say that The Gap doesn’t do any nonsense like that as you branch through college exams, bars, gossip, and whatnot. The conversations Joshua has with his supporting cast feels a bit stiff at times, personally speaking—a bit too ‘reality TV’-like with the attempted one-ups and all, but that’s just because if I ever spoke like that to my mates or family I’d get a solid punch to the gut.

But my thoughts for the writing aside, the frustrations Joshua faces, not only with himself but his wife, are very real. And there are some heavy hitting moments that I think the game pulls off very well. Unfortunately, one big thing that impacted the narrative for me, especially how it ends, is our main character’s relationships with the supporting characters of The Gap.

No spoilers here, but all I want to say is, considering how long Joshua has had his well-known issues, you’d think everyone around him would be more sympathetic. But I felt no one, aside from the Aunt, showed even a bit of empathy for our hero’s unfortunate circumstances all the way until its way too late, considering the multi-year period the game takes place in. Once I rolled the credits, I couldn’t help but feel there were details missing in these relationships—ones that didn’t just have to be about frustrations and anger—and it ultimately left me feeling a bit underwhelmed.

For my slights with the overall narrative, however, The Gap offers real problems, giving a more sci-fi glimpse to the world of genetic and neurological disorders and how it impacts dreams, ambitions, and our families. For those that love to delve into the mind and its inner workings (with a bit of stretching done to the science behind it), look no further than here. ∎


Thanks. I pre ordered it on a whim not long ago and forgot it came out. Will give it a whirl

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