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These mini games are themed using different natural environments as a background for six simple puzzles which aim to help you rise above the stresses of everyday life.
The games can be played really quickly, so doesn't mean the experience has to take a long time. Just five minutes and you feel like you've switched off a bit from the hustle and bustle of the day.
Zenses Ocean the first in the series has a really relaxing feel; lovely ocean blues and calming music. My favourite games are Wave Breaker - during which you have to remember the formation of shells before a wave comes and covers them in sand, with the sound of the sea with each breaking wave. I also really liked Pearl Diver in which you have to connect floating pearls using the stylus, amazingly simple, which is what makes it so nice. Not so relaxing was the game Hot Spot where you have to use parts of a glow fish to match the image above. I found this fiddly and frustrating and kept running out of time. I found some of the sound effects of the games were a bit intrusive at times.
One really got me hooked though and that was Sapphire Wheel, which I could have played for ages.
The second in the series Zenses Rainforest uses waterfalls, the sounds of the forest and calm greens as its setting for puzzles with an ‘Aztec' feel. This game didn't have the same calming feel about it as Oceans and on the whole I didn't find the games as relaxing. One really got me hooked though and that was Sapphire Wheel, which I could have played for ages. The object of the game is to fit different shaped coloured gems into a stone wheel. Although this was a timed game I really enjoyed the challenge of it. Treasure spin also kept me playing for about 15 rounds where you have to spin a stone square in order to line up groups of flowers.
Some of the puzzles on Rainforest were rather dull to say the least - like Stack Jack where you have to position concentric circles inside each other as the fall down a water fall.
I'm not often in the mood for a game which is going make me tense and on edge, and don't have much time to sit down with the DS. This felt like a refreshing change and a way to play something quickly. Oceans is a good attempt at being a calm approach to gaming, but I'm not sure it works when applied to the rainforest theme. That said I think the games on rainforest were still quite good if you remove them from the context of being ambient and escapist. Overall I'm not sure a puzzle game can be the soothing zen escape this hopes to be.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: