Grow the Perfect Bonsai With Prune
A game about growing and pruning trees might not sound like much fun, but Prune from Polyculture makes this process surprisingly fun and relaxing. Available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices, the game asks players to prune bonsai trees to achieve specific goals. These can range from avoiding obstacles to finding the sunlight, but as players advance through levels both the configurations and the goals change. Sometimes there are orbs that will help your tree to grow and sometimes there are orbs that will poison your tree, but the mechanics of the game keep it relaxing and nonthreatening. In fact, even if you fail at your goals, you simply cut your tree down and start again.
Though this may make the game sound easy, the puzzles get increasingly complicated as you move through the levels and as new elements are introduced figuring out how to add them to your strategy keeps the game intriguing. But, what really sets this apart from other mobile games released this year is the attention to design details. The artwork and music are what make the game feel meditative rather than frustrating and the controls are easy to learn while still allowing for complicated puzzles. Overall, this game reminded me of Monument Valley in terms of attention to detail and design, which is high praise given how much I enjoyed that game. If you enjoy mobile games with a focus on puzzles, this is a great one to check out.