Jul 24, 2013

[Games] Color Zen (Android)

Ever since I upgrade to an HTC One, I've found myself happily exploring the Google Play Store from time to time in search of interesting apps and potentially cool games to play around with. There have been quite a number of them that I had tried with my ASUS Transformer tablet, but not all of them worked out well.

Now Color Zen isn't a game that I got to try out first on my tablet - but it does hold the distinction of being one of the first games that I installed on my HTC One just because it promise a somehow relaxing casual gaming experience. That may not sound very exciting to most, but when you're looking for a way to decongest your brain in the middle of a busy work day, you really don't have time to wrap your head around game strategy or things of that nature. You just want  a way to relax.

Color Zen offered precisely that, and delivered on this promise amazingly well. Not only is the game rather beautiful to look at and quite relaxing on the eyes, it's actually quite addicting and heck of a lot of fun to play.

Color Zen is a free puzzle game app by Large Animal Games for both Android and iOS (but I think it's 99 cents on iTunes), but this only offers you limited stages. Between the absolutely free stages and the ones that you can unlock by watching ads, you'll end up with an initial batch of 40 stages that make up Chapters 1 and 2. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The game's core mechanic is blissfully simple - fill the screen with the same color as the border. One of the pieces will be blinking - that will be the piece that you can move. Touch two like-colored pieces together and the screen fills up with the corresponding color in what you'd think is a simple animation and yet it comes out so beautifully. It's like watching paint run across glass or something - provided you're standing on the other side. And each stage varies on this theme and thus it's just about the need to make the shapes collide in the right order to be left with the correct final pair.

As simple as it sounds, the game varies things up with increasingly complex shapes and patterns and eventually new pieces. In Chapter 2, you meet the white-colored pieces that fill the screen with whatever color you touch them with - pretty much a wild card color. And that shifts the game in a new dynamic all together.

To get a better idea of how the game works, check out this 15 second game trailer:

The game is deceptively simple but you'll eventually find yourself needing to put a bit more brain power into thinking about the sequence of your moves before you can continue. Despite this, it doesn't quite reach the point of frustration where you want to throw your phone across the room or something - I'm looking at you Candy Crush. This game is about, well, Zen. And thus it keeps you in a nice relaxed state of mind.

At the moment the core app is free but there are two level packs that you can purchase - the Classic pack and the Nature pack. Each costs 99 cents for a heck of a lot of levels, thus making the potential cost for the game almost $2. I have yet to take the plunge to invest in the game all that much, but I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't tempted to do just that. Even just re-playing the first 40 stages that make up Chapters 1 and 2 is a decently rewarding experience, but I really want to try out new stages and see what else the developers came up with in terms of new challenges.

Color Zen may  not be your typical action-packed game, but it's still a wonderful (and quite beautiful) gaming experience. I definitely suggest that you try it out - and we'll see how long before you end up purchasing the level packs! The game is a simple yet elegant 5 flowing color patterns out of a possible 5.

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