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Zen Bound 2 Review: Still as beautiful as ever

Zen Bound on the iPhone was possibly the most beautiful game I’ve ever played, and while it didn’t appeal to some people, it definitely appealed to me.  The ambiance was incredible, the relaxation was indescribable, and the overall experience was unique.  It’s hard to describe any specific reason for the wonderful-ness of the game other than the fact that it was gorgeously crafted and uniquely made for iPhone and iPod touch gamers.

And following this success comes the sequel Zen Bound 2, a game made exclusively for Apple’s new iPad.  While there aren’t many new gameplay elements that were added, the game has been upped visually along with a more immersive environment.  But it all comes down to this: if you loved the first one, you’ll drool for the second one.

Likes

Graphics: The detail that went into the wooden structures along with the backgrounds are astounding, and I’m more than taken aback by the visual part of the game.  Secret Exit did a wonderful job with improving the game in terms of aesthetics, and this may just be one of the best looking games on the App Store.  Sure, the background could be a lot more complex and the tree could be a bit brighter, but overall, I think Secret Exit did a phenomenal job in the visual department.

Ambiance: The first one created an incredible environment and atmosphere; the second one isn’t any different.  There’s a reason it’s called ZEN Bound, as it provides a relaxing and stress-relieving experience.  Secret Exit translated the soothing environment quite nicely from the iPhone to the iPad, and it’s one of the many quality traits for Zen Bound.

Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken: All the main points that made Zen Bound on the iPhone so wonderful has been translated smoothly onto the iPad.  Secret Exit didn’t mess anything up from the first one to the sequel, and I’m glad that they did such a wonderful job.  While it would have been nice if they added some more gameplay elements, Zen Bound 2 is still what it was on the iPhone: a beautiful experience.

Dislikes

Expansion pack: When you see sequels such as Inotia 2: Wanderer of Luone and the huge jump it made from one to the other, that starts to become the bar you set for any other sequel.  To me, Zen Bound 2 seems to be more of an expansion pack, something that could have been added via DLC to the first one (although I don’t think that would have garnered many sales).  It would have been nice if they added some more game modes, some sort of online highscore system, or even puzzles other than the classic “wrap around the structure” gameplay.  Still, for those who loved the first one, you can’t complain much about the second.

Zen Bound 2, while essentially more of an expansion pack to the first one, is incredibly made with some breathtaking visuals and a relaxing ambiance.  Everything that made it great on the iPhone has been translated onto the iPad to make it a great experience for first-time iPad gamers.  In terms of visuals, I think they’ve set the bar for how iPad games should look, as the detail that went into this is just… inspiring.

Update: With its support for the iPhone and being a universal app, there’s really no restrictions to this now.  As an added bonus they’ve even added support for the iPhone 4 Retina display.  On top of that, they’ve lowered the price to $2.99.  I don’t know about everyone else, but for me, this is easily a Must Have.

Zen Bound 2 was developed by Secret Exit, and I played through version 1.0.2 on my iPad.  The price is $7.99.



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