I’ve been playing a couple of spiritual puzzle games recently. The first is Zen Puzzle Garden.

In Zen Puzzle Garden you take on the role of a gardener in a Japanese rock garden. You have to figure out a way to rake all the sand so the rock garden looks nice. To solve the puzzle you have to make sure all the sand is raked. Once you start raking you travel in the same direction until you hit something; then you choose which direction to go next. You’re not allowed to re-rake any area and later on more elements are added, such as leaves that you have to pass in a particular order, or statues you can push.

A completed zen garden puzzle.

I think what I like most about this game is its simplicity. It’s rules are simple, The graphics are simple, the sound is simple, and despite being a puzzle game it really is quite relaxing to play. The gameplay seems somehow pure. I find if I’m stuck with whatever I’m working on a quick puzzle on zen garden helps me to refocus myself.

I also like the fact that and this sort of thing is well within the abilities of our students, if they can come up with that gem of an idea.

There’s also a fancier version, if you’re lucky enough to have an iPad.