Friday, April 17, 2009

Zen Bound

Developer: Secret Exit
Publisher: Chillingo
Release Date: Feb. 24, 2009
System: iPod Touch/iPhone
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Web site

In a nutshell: The most non-sexual fun you can have with a rope!

0:00 When I first asked my friends and colleagues for game recommendations for my new iPod Touch, quite a few people mentioned this one. I'm looking forward to a game that doesn't require much attention or cause much stress.

0:01 The game says it's "designed for headphones," so I spend a minute digging up some ratty old earbuds. Wow ... the trippy music really does sounds a lot better echoing directly through my skull.

0:02 "Zen Bound is a game about slowing down and letting things happen at their own pace." I could use a game like that after a stressful tax season, let me tell you. Apparently I'll be painting structures by wrapping them with rope. Er ... that's not how painting works? Is it? I've never really painted...

0:02 I start with the "Tree of Reflection" because it sounds more, um, reflective than the "Tree of Challenge."

0:04 Immediately I'm impressed with the detailed 3-D graphics. The wooden block has a nice, convincing grain to it, and the tiny iPod handles the full 3-D animation with minimal jumpiness. I'm also digging the interface -- flicking my thumb to rotate the block, tilting the iPod to change the rope direction. It only takes 12.4 of the available 25 meters of rope to get the simple block 100-percent painted with a spiraling rope pattern. The game makes a strong, unique first impression.



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