Zenge
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Zenge is a simple and straightforward puzzle game that combines tangrams and sliding blocks. The minimalist art style is easy on the eyes and while the game is short it keeps introducing new mechanics to keep the gameplay interesting. It is also just as affordable as its mobile counterpart, so there’s no reason to miss out if you want to play it on your PC instead of your phone.

Gameplay: Simple, straightforward, and quite relaxing.

Graphics: Very minimalist, but the story artwork is quite neat.

Sound: Some soothing piano tunes

Summary 8.3 Outstanding
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Zenge

Developer: Michal Pawlowski | Publisher: Hamster On Coke Games | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Puzzle / Casual / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Zenge is a relaxing minimalist puzzle game, which is not at all what we expected from a publisher called Hamster on Coke Games. The gameplay is a mixture of tangrams and sliding block puzzles woven together with the story of a character named Eon. Apparently, Eon is a lonely journeyman who is stuck between the worlds and time but seeing as the minimalist images are not accompanied by any text or speech the story is very much open to interpretation.

After starting up the game it is immediately clear that Zenge had a start on mobile devices, but this does not hamper the experience in any way. Sure, the minimalist visuals and control scheme is probably more at home on your phone than on a giant PC screen, but the gameplay is just as solid. Even better, the developer kept the price the same, so the game can be yours for pocket change. In exchange, you get 70 odd levels of creative puzzles. The whole thing can be completed in less than two hours, depending on your puzzle-solving skills, but although short-lived it is quite entertaining.

The basic goal for each level is to get all the tangram style pieces to specific spots on the board. This is accomplished by the traditional sliding block puzzle method of moving them around. However, instead of the traditional grid, the lines in Zenge are all over the place. The same rules still apply, though, so pieces can block each other and you can’t move one piece through another. Even so, dragging pieces across straight lines is a very simple concept, so thankfully Zenge continues to introduce new mechanics to keep things fresh. Not only do the pieces come in different shapes and sizes, but soon you will have to move them to special spots where they can be rotated or mirrored. Some specially marked pieces can also be connected together permanently if moved next to each other in the right spot. Eventually, players also need to deal with shrinking and growing pieces or using teleportation spots to move pieces around the board. Finally, color-coded pieces are introduced and must be used to activate switches that open up color-coded paths on the board. It might sound complicated, but all of these mechanics are introduced gradually. The game never becomes frustrating enough to warrant any hair pulling either as even levels that combine all of the mechanics can be completed easily enough with a bit of thought.

To ensure that Zenge stays relaxing the developers have done away with all the usual hindrances such as scores, stars, move counters, or time limits. It’s also impossible to make wrong moves, so there’s no need to ever restart a level because you are stuck. Even achievements have been relegated to a single one for beating the entire game to keep things as distraction-free as possible. One thing that might annoy players is that while you can replay any of the previously completed levels it is impossible to skip ahead if you are stuck. However, as we mentioned earlier, the game is straightforward enough that anyone should be able to complete it without too much trouble.

Zenge runs on the Unity engine, so players are greeted by the usual launcher window for selecting the resolution and visual quality when launching the game. In-game the only options are the ability to mute the music, sound effects, or both. The backgrounds for each level are simple gradients as are the puzzle pieces until they are connected to reveal the story artwork. The game also features a very relaxing piano-heavy soundtrack and while there are not a lot of tunes they do provide some nice background music for the puzzles. Everything in Zenge is mouse controlled, so pieces are moved around by clicking on them and then sliding them along a straight path to where you want them to go. Clicking on a shape highlights the spot where it needs to be on the board, which is a handy feature on some of the more cluttered levels.

All in all, there is very little to complain about with Zenge. It’s a very short game but comes with a reasonable price tag and plenty of relaxing puzzles. Serious puzzle fans should be able to complete it in one or two sessions, but it makes for a nice change of pace compared to some of the more convoluted puzzle titles on the market. If you are looking for a puzzle game that will seriously test your brainpower, then Zenge is not it. However, if you want something simple, casual, and relaxing, then Zenge comes highly recommended.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel i3
  • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
  • Storage: 160 MB available space
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel i3
  • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.7+
  • Processor: 2 Ghz Dual Core
  • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Graphics card supporting DirectX 9.0c
  • Storage: 160 MB available space
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.7+
  • Processor: 2 Ghz Dual Core
  • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Graphics card supporting DirectX 9.0c
  • Storage: 160 MB available space
  • Processor: 2 Ghz Dual Core
  • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Graphics card supporting DirectX 9.0c
  • Storage: 160 MB available space
  • Processor: 2 Ghz Dual Core
  • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Graphics card supporting DirectX 9.0c
  • Storage: 160 MB available space

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