Prune 1

There truly is an art form in pruning. Trees of all shapes and sizes act differently based on the way you manipulate their growth. The art of the Bonsai is the perfect example of how a perfectly trimmed tree can become whatever you want it to be.

Prune is a game about trees. In it, players trim branches to grow their foliage until they reach the sun. We’ve got a hands-on game review of Prune for you today.

Concept

As trees grow, they reach for sunlight. You may sometimes see trees that appear to defy gravity as they twist and arch to find the nutrient-giving light they crave. If you were to speed up time, you might see how these plants make their way through and around their environment in order to get through to sunlight. In this game, time is sped up for you. Your job is to help the tree reach the light by trimming branches and manipulating its shape.

Design

Probably the most appealing aspect of this game is the artistic minimalist design. In this Zen-like garden, the scene is populated with very little. Most imagery is shadowed with elements of color interspersed throughout. Some levels include a bright red circle, which adds to the overall aesthetic. You can even take pictures of your creations using the in-app screenshot feature.

Prune 2

Gameplay

As beautiful as this looks, it is still a game. The goal is to grow the tree until it reaches sunlight and produces flowers. If you’ve done it right, your tree will glow with happiness for just a moment.

Each level is like a puzzle. First, you plant the seed to begin growth by dragging your finger from the starting point outward. Then, the tree will begin to grow multiple branches. If it gets too thick to get any higher, trim off some excess to help it grow higher by swiping across a branch. When it reaches any light source, it will produce flowers. Some light sources produce yellow or blue blossoms.

As the levels progress, it becomes more difficult to keep your tree growing. There may be obstacles in the way that force you to trim a healthy branch before it gets destroyed. The big red circle may be beautiful, but it actually acts as a virus that attacks the tree down to its roots. If your tree gets infected, cut off the limb that turns red before it takes over the entire trunk.

You will also be able to make the tree grow at different angles by moving around some sort of attraction force. This is used to help you twist around tight spaces and avoid the red circles.

Once you have solved the puzzle, you can continue to trim away at your tree and cultivate it more. However, many times, the process of solving the puzzle will trim away so many of your branches that there won’t be many left to play with.

Prune 3

The Good

This presents a nice medium for appreciating nature while playing a puzzle game. There is no score and no right way of doing things. The only goal is to reach sunlight. Howe you get there is up to you. The visual aesthetics are very pleasing. I appreciate the artistic effort that went into creating it.

The Bad

After growing and pruning trees for a few dozen levels, you find yourself wishing you could just play around with them, without the obstacles getting in the way. I would love some sort of sandbox style tree pruning section where I could while away the time, manipulating my creation. Maybe I should just go get a Bonsai.

Value

Prune costs $3.99. This is a unique game with an interesting mechanic that allows the player to connect with nature and engage in puzzle solving at the same time. However, the amount of content is somewhat limited. The perfect solution would be to add a sandbox level (hint, hint).

Conclusion

I definitely recommend this to fans of relaxing puzzle games. It draws you in with its artistic aesthetic and keeps you interested by challenging your skills. Even with the limited content, you will enjoy every moment you are playing. This game is available on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Download it in the App Store today.

Related Apps

Although the puzzle aspect is much different, this game reminds me a bit of Monument Valley.

What do you think of this Zen-like puzzle game? Let us know in the comments below.