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The classic game: Zen Bound

When getting in a tangle was a surprisingly serene experience

The latest entry in our classics series explores a game that roped you in with endless twists and turns.

Zen Bound

Zen Bound for iPhone.

What was Zen Bound?

Originally released in 2009 for iPhone, Zen Bound tasked players to wrap rope around wooden sculptures. Paint appeared on any areas of the object the rope touched. The goal was to cover as much of the object’s surface as possible before securing the rope on a nail. The bigger your score, the more flowers appeared on a suitably genteel level select screen based around a graceful blossom tree adorned with hanging lanterns.

Why was it a classic?

The presentation was exquisite. The game played out to a soothing soundtrack, and the wooden objects exhibited a remarkable sense of physicality. This was accentuated by the controls, which had you swipe with a finger to move an object, but tilt your iPhone to adjust the angle of the creaking rope.

In a sea of frantic, action-oriented fare that was increasingly commonplace on the App Store at the time, Zen Bound stood out as a moment of gaming calm. It set the scene for mobile gaming experiences that could be thoughtful and help you unwind – ironic, given that it was all about winding up objects in rope…

Zen Bound 2 for Nintendo Switch

Zen Bound 2 for Nintendo Switch.

Where is it now?

Zen Bound received widespread critical acclaim, leading to the release of a sequel. Zen Bound 2 added new gameplay elements, such as explosive paint bombs, and also made use of the iPad’s screen acres. Alas, both games have long since been removed from the App Store.

However, if you own a Nintendo Switch, a remastered version of Zen Bound 2 is available for that console – and is every bit as good as the original. Suitably, it also rethinks the controls to make them work perfectly with the host hardware.

Visit the Zen Bound website or get the sequel ($14.99/£13.99) for Nintendo Switch.