App

ChillScape looks to gamify meditation

Price: $3/£3
Version: 1.0.1
Size: 21.1 MB
Seller: Studio Amplify
Platform: iPhone / iPad

Get ChillScape

This budget meditation app claims to combine cognitive psychology, AI-generated music, and gentle graphics to help calm the mind.

In reality, they’ve basically attempted to gamify the process of relaxation. That may sound like somewhat of an oxymoron, but in the context of ChillScape, it does work – to an extent.

Pick your session length to get started

The way it works is you fire up the app and tell it how long you want your “session” to be. It could be 5, 10 or 20 minutes, or even indefinite. We did note the interesting use of meditation terminology in saying “session” because after a few of them, we did wonder whether it was just covering up the fact that this is basically just a very, very simple game.

Different colored rings will appear – try and pop them in a rhythm

Once your session starts, you’re presented with a colorful space scene – green, pinks, oranges – the color palette is wide. Slowly but surely, a number of white ringed circles appear on screen as the slow rumblings of an ambient soundtrack plays out underneath. Your goal is to tap these rings to a rhythm. On each tap, a chime rings out, creating a pleasant enough sounding tune.

The idea is that the longer you go on, the more the soundscape evolves. ChillScape says the early sounds are low-pitched, similar to those in the womb before other layers are added with frequencies known to stimulate calm and create feelings of euphoria.

The middle circle steadily gets wider and larger until it fills the screen and you start again

Furthermore, the app claims that underneath the music a soft “pulse” gradually slows from 60 to 50 beats per minute and your breath and body will try and naturally follow this rhythm.

We can’t say we were convinced. And our heart rate, as tracked by the Apple Watch, didn’t come close to falling in line with the steady pulse.

The space backdrop will continue to evolve and change the longer your session

But you know what? It was relaxing and it was a pleasant experience. We wouldn’t say this is a vital tool for those looking to throw themselves headfirst into meditation, but it might be good for those that want something simple and calming.

Used at opportune moments of the day – such as on the train home from work to gently transition from work mind to home mind – the app might prove incredibly useful, if it can hold your attention enough to clear your mind of worry, but not leave it unstimulated enough that it starts to wander.

And you know what? For a one-off $1, why not give it a go? If your needs are slight, it sure beats the army of expensive subscription-based meditation apps the App Store seems filled with.

Review: ChillScape - sound-based meditation
Extremely simple, but essentially achieves what it sets out to do
For
  • Can be relaxing in short bursts
  • Simple to use
Against
  • Music's not exactly inspiring
  • Can get a little boring
3.5Overall Score