Zen Puzzle Garden is a game in which you are presented with a sand garden containing several items. These items - immobile rocks, sliding stone lanterns, and order-sensitive fallen leaves - interfere with your ability to rake the entire garden without crossing over the path you've taken, a task which just so happens to be your goal.
The puzzles start out fairly simple, but quickly increase in difficulty. A key source of the difficulty is, as in the game of Go, the seemingly endless variety of possibilities presented by the initial empty state. But once the player has done some fiddling around, patterns to the problem-solving become apparent and make each level approachable. Those who wish to cut to the chase can visit the hints and solutions page on the developer's website.
Zen Puzzle Garden has the unassuming depth and quality of a haiku, but its 100 built-in puzzles are sure to keep you playing longer than it would take to read a three-line poem. Toss in the level designer that comes with the program and you've got all the tranquilly frustrating sand-raking you could ever ask for.
- Easy to skip a challenging level for a while when stuck
- Effective, unassuming graphics
- Level editor included
- Undo, restart, and speed up shortcuts do wonders for smoothing out gameplay
- Difficulty may be too high for some