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App Review – Zen Bound

Picture 4
Developer: Chillingo
Category: Games
Price: £2.99

When Apple revealed that great games would be made available on the iPhone, we could already envisage the kind of thing that would hit the App Store: racing games with accelerometer control, platformers with easy-to-use buttons and touch-enabled keypads. What we really didn’t see coming was the vast imaginations of developers and the amazing use of the iPhone’s software. Zen Bound is one of those games that simply stopped us in our tracks. This game is odd and yet brilliant. Complex and yet simple and relaxing yet compelling. The idea is that you have an object in the centre of the screen that you can manipulate using a drag of the finger (it will swivel in all three dimensions) and then attached to it is a rope that you must wind carefully around the object until you’ve covered a significant proportion, by which point the game is won. You can best your score by doing the wrapping more efficiently using a lesser length of rope, or by covering a greater percentage of the object than the last time. It’s one of those games that’s hard to explain, but enthralling to play. The reason it translates so much better in the playing is that the control you have over the object is astounding; the physics involved in the way the rope behaves is mind melting and this is all coupled with a fantastic zen soundtrack and incredibly tangible sound effects. There are two modes of play where you complete levels on a tree. There is the Tree of Reflection and the Tree of Challenge. Each present a different set of central objects of differing shapes and sizes. There are no time limits, so this game is all about consideration and patience, it promotes logic and thought. The game will leave you feeling calm and tranquil and as a result it’s far different to any kind of gaming experience we’ve had before. Zen Bound is a wonderful example of the scope the iPhone has and the sheer imagination of developers. We haven’t seen another app that can compete with this for great gameplay and polished design.

Longevity: 8.5

Fun Factor: 8.0

Practicality: 7.0

Value For Money: 8.0

Kung Fu Verdict: 8.2