4cr Plays – Color Zen (Wii U)

by Antonio Garcia

Color Zen – a relaxing puzzle game by Large Animal Games and Cypronia – has made its way from Apple’s App Store to the Wii U eShop, and I thought I would check it out to let you know if the port is worth your time and money.

Just as its name implies, Color Zen relies on colorful puzzle pieces and a chilled-out soundtrack to keep players engaged for hours. The main gameplay mechanic is easy to understand – when two objects of the same color touch, that color expands all over the screen and eliminates any similarly-colored shapes. To complete a puzzle, you must eliminate all puzzle pieces and make the screen a single color. Oh, and that final color must match the border around the screen. Simple, right?

Color Zen Intro Puzzle

Later in the game, you will be required to think ahead and plan out how each color will affect the rest of the pieces. Sometimes, you will need to “shield” specially-outlined pieces by tapping them. On top of that, only the pieces that are vibrating can be moved, meaning that you must review everything to make sure you won’t be trapping the rest of the pieces with no way out.

Color Zen Advanced Puzzle

As all great puzzle games should, the game starts slow so that you can get the hang of things. Over time, the game slowly curves up the difficulty, but in a way that it neither feels overwhelming or like the developer is holding your hand. There’s nothing I hate more in a game than tutorials that last forever, and fortunately, that is not the case here.

In order to really get into that “Zen” zone, I recommend that you use a nice pair of headphones when you dive into the game. Unlike most Wii U games, Color Zen is controlled entirely with the Wii U Gamepad’s touchscreen, and the TV is only used to display what the player is doing – almost a performance art showcase – so that those close-by can experience the colorful-but-minimalistic action.

I’m a great believer in Off-TV gaming, and the fact that this game went all-in for making the Wii U Gamepad’s touchscreen the main control input AND the main display input improved the whole experience for me. The puzzles reminded me of Blok Drop U in that they seem very simple at first, but they always offer something new to keep you hooked for long sessions.

Color Zen Puzzle

Since Color Zen includes 460 puzzles to solve, it will keep you busy for many, many hours. The developers have even announced that more puzzles are on their way, and will be made available soon for those that end up devouring all of the content in this game. I never once felt that a puzzle was lacking or that it was just there as filler, so kudos to Large Animal Games for their work.

Every time I couldn’t solve a puzzle during my first try, it was easy to realize where I had made a mistake. Once again – this was thanks to the minimalistic presentation, which makes sure that your brain never feels overwhelmed.

Color Zen is a fun, relaxing, and colorful puzzle game, and is a great value at four dollars. The great soundtrack from Steve Woodzell complements the experience, and it helped me play for hours at a time without even noticing the clock.

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