Zen Bound

March 17, 2009

The App Store is filled to the brim with ports and knockoffs.  Indie developers are trying to capitalize on the success of previous hits by implementing gameplay on the device.  Sometimes this is done fairly well, but even if it is, it feels shoehorned in on a platform with many unique features and no buttons.

Zen Bound doesn’t even begin to fit in with those games.

The gameplay is fairly simple: players use a length of rope to wrap a wooden sculpture and try to touch as much of the object’s surface as possible.  A small area around the rope is “painted” and counts towards the total.  Accomplishing this is no small feat, though: the touch screen can manipulate the orientation of the figure, but tilting allows players to angle the incoming angle of the rope.  It’s all very analog, and the platform does analog very well.

Zen Bound’s presentation is simply amazing.  The graphics are top-notch; figures truly look wooden, backgrounds are detailed, paint looks natural and the menu screen has a feeling all its own.  The soundtrack draws you in and is ideal for the kind of focus the game needs.  An added bonus: the music is a free download through the game.

The game includes two separate modes for different levels of challenge.
Before this game, I was a skeptic, thinking iPhone and iPod touch apps would never achieve much more than Flash games.  Not anymore.  Buy Zen Bound, and you won’t be a skeptic either.

Pros: Perfect for platform, great soundtrack
Cons: Analog controls inevitably finicky

Score: 5/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.