By Mento 1 Comments
19/05/12 - Game #17
The source: The Indie Brain Pack from the 2010 Black Friday sale.
The pre-amble: The sequel to an iPhone exclusive, Zen Bound 2 is a puzzle game where the player must wrap a rope around a wooden object in a manner that covers as much of the object's surface area as possible. One to three flowers bloom depending on how well you do, which are the key to unlocking further levels.
The playthrough: I'm not sure if I was prepared for some light bondage in my puzzle gaming, but Zen Bound brings the S&M and then some. In this case, the sado-masochism arrives quickly as the puzzles get increasingly devious: Your object, as stated above, is to simply wrap a rope around an object for the most coverage as possible. However, plenty of objects have nooks and crannies which are very quickly inaccessible if you're not paying attention. Exacerbating the issue are a rope length limit which will vary per object and may sneak up on you when you least expect it and the "coup de grace" of an inserted pin that you must wrap the rope around to complete the circuit; this pin can also be quite difficult to reach if you've left ropes sticking out every which way.
So what you have is something marketed as a zen-like relaxation puzzle game that turns into anything but when you start hitting stages that have a very specific critical path to success, being ignorant of which will be the cause of many a restart. Now, I can't speak to what relaxes others, but constantly being forced to repeat the last five to ten minutes of ridiculous wooden ape rope play because I neglected the natural crevices that are its armpits and crotch is not my idea of chillaxation. If one could be said to have an idea of an entirely fictitious word.
All that said, it's an intriguing premise that's clearly got layers of hidden depth for its master-level puzzles to exploit and I'd readily recommend it to anyone who desperately needs to give themselves an aneurysm in order to cash in on a very specific life insurance policy. Just don't be fooled by its new age blissed-out wrappings; at its core, it's as insidious and coldly logical a puzzle game as they come.
The verdict: Possibly. I could use something to replace Toki Tori as a go-to game that dissuades any notions I might have of being intelligent.