Zen Bound is an almost unbelievably innovative and interesting game.
Basically, you wrap a cord around a wooden object, which paints the object. Sessions feel half like a game and half like some kind of soothing knot-to-untie.
This game has vision; all the elements feel unified in a monastic, gothic way. But the game is not just cohesive aesthetically…the entire thing feels polished in a way that you rarely encounter. That alone adds some pleasurable quality to interacting with the game.
Part game, part toy, part puzzle, part relaxation fetish. I love this Zen Bound.
(Note: Jordan, this game is for you.)
I’ve been listening to Ivana XL’s EP and album (both of which seem to be called Ivana XL, but whatever). If you like creaky, quirky, semi-folksy stuff like Mazzy Star (from the 90’s), you’ll probably like this.
I have a love/hate relationship with puzzle games. (I’d rather engage with something that allows me to play expressively.) But I love strategy games and a few puzzle games.
Subway gameplay involves moving pieces around to open a path to the goal. Each level (01-91) gets increasingly difficult.
The part I find fascinating is my approach to solving the puzzles. There’s an interesting mental shift, where I “let go” of trying to solve the puzzle overall, focus on which moves I *can* currently make, take into account what has to happen (in the final move) to solve the puzzle, and *try to solve faster*. I find that I’m far more successful when I make this series of mental shifts than when I try to approach the puzzle as a whole, or in a systemic way. Hard to articulate.
Subway also has a super clean art style and implementation that I love.
This game has made it onto my list of iPhone favorites, along with Galcon and Drop7.