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Zen Training

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad
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Make like a tree

Product: Zen Training | Publisher: Forest Moon Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Casual, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.01
Zen Training iPhone, thumbnail 1
Asking someone to center themselves by playing a round of Zen Training is like telling a hysterical friend to calm down in the midst of a drunken tirade - you know it won't work, but you're eager to watch the ensuing meltdown.

While there's no disputing that Zen Training is set in a tranquil Zen garden with ambient music designed to soothe jagged nerves, it lacks any sense of actual tranquility.

Some might consider this a failing, but for those who like fast-paced puzzle gameplay it's a blessing in disguise.

Leaf it to chance

Like most things in Zen philosophy, Zen Training relies on the perfection of a simple concept. You begin by staring at a ring of coloured stones that circle a lone tree standing in a field of sand.

When the game kicks off, stones resembling the coloured ones on the ground begin to fall from the tree, and you have to rotate the circle on the bottom until the falling stone lands on top of its matching colour.

That's really all there is to the game. There are no hidden gimmicks, no meditative interludes, no shuffleboard-like stone sliding. Just rotate, rinse, and repeat.

But despite this simplicity, Zen Training is not a simple game. After the first few levels, you're challenged by stones falling at increasing speeds and multiple stones falling at the same time.

The root of the problem

The solution to these problems is to simply rotate the circle at the bottom of the tree a bit faster, but that's easier said than done as the pace quickens.

As colours flash and stones plummet, you begin to wonder why anyone would set such a frenetic game in a place normally associated with sombre, even-keeled mystics edging ever-closer to enlightenment. 

Ultimately, Zen Training is a satisfying low-investment game to whittle away a few idle moments on in the course of your day.

It's not the type of game that you'll invest hours in, but each loss leaves you with the all-important compulsion to have another go that will keep you coming back for another turn at the tree.
Zen Training
Reviewer photo
Matthew Diener | 24 January 2013
About as Zen as a rock concert, Zen Training is a quick puzzle game that juxtaposes tranquility with frantic gameplay in all the right ways
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