Quite often these days, one generally comes to the belief that the more complicated a game may be, the better or harder it should be. In the case of TanZen HD, simplicity reigns supreme while at the same time taking one of the top spots in my book as far as challenge is concerned.
The objective of the game is simple, you are allocated a select bunch of shapes and are required to flip and turn these shapes to fit them all perfectly into the current puzzle. Selecting a given piece is as easy as tapping it and once the shape is selected, you can rotate it by tracing around the highlighted circle (double-tap to flip). The shapes of the puzzles range from a variety of things such as animals or objects to just plain weird structures. TanZen HD offers over 500 of these unique puzzles, each of which is presented to you in a huge series of gallery-style index pages, allowing you to skip around and choose as you please. Your (current) progress is always saved on each puzzle should you decide to skip one and go back to it at a later time.
The interface design for TanZen HD suits the nature of the game perfectly, simplistic but quite appealing to the eye. What’s even more fitting to this game, is its soundtrack. Just as the name of the game states, TanZen’s in-game music is very “zen” like, allowing you to get either lost in its relaxing sounds, or drive you mad after hearing it for 30 minutes while being stuck on the same puzzle.
Extras in this game are brought to you in the form of earning unique “puzzle piece skins” by completing a single page of puzzles. While this may seem easy, it’s actually quite tough and offers a very steep challenge. These skins and alternate backgrounds are accessed via a pop-up options menu which also offers access to various game settings and TanZen’s hint system. When you are stuck on a puzzle and all hope is lost or simply just want a hint, you tap twice anywhere on the open screen and it highlights a spot on the puzzle with the correct puzzle piece.
TanZen also is available on iPhone and iPod Touch, however there are a few differences between the two releases. TanZen HD (the iPad version) offers a decent bit more screen space for manipulating the puzzle pieces, a huge plus in my book. The HD version of the game also sports higher-resolution graphics and quite a few interface tweaks which take advantage of the larger screen. Both versions play identical and contain most of the same features (although the iPad version offers 50+ more puzzles ).
If you a fan of puzzle games, then this game is for you! But be warned, quite a few of these puzzles are difficult and may force you to rip some hair out. There is a “lite” version of the iPhone/iPod Touch version which you can try out for free. No matter which platform you choose, TanZen a fantastic game to play in short bursts!