Category Archives: Good Games Buried Deep

Good Games Buried Deep #2 – Rotate Zen Journey

This next one is an all-around great game: Rotate – Zen Journey (by Lemon Jam Studio). It’s rare nowadays that I take the time to go back and perfect levels, but I eagerly did that with this one.

Rotate Zen Journey Red

Simple instructions for a very deep and complete game.


Quick description:

Shoot the yellow diamond from rotating bubble to rotating bubble, collecting dots along the way. Think fast before your bubble disappears or spins you off the screen. Time your shots well in order to perfect a level.

Why this game is worth playing:

The design. The developer made a lot of great choices in making this game really fun:

1. Forced to act: The game could give you an infinite amount of time to spin around on a bubble, letting you carefully plan and prepare your next shot. Instead, you’re faced with two additional challenges: bubbles disappear after a few full rotations and the rotation of some bubbles takes you offscreen. In both of these situations, you die. To finish a level, you must thus think fast and act quickly. Furthermore, you’ll have only a limited opportunity to backtrack to a disappearing bubble to pick up any dots you may have missed.

Rotate Zen Journey Disappearing Bubbles

Take note of the fading bubbles.  Think you’ve got enough time to safely navigate back to that missed dot?

2. Speed of rotation: A lot of the bubbles rotate at different speeds. I can’t stress enough how exciting this makes the game. You’ve successfully navigated a stream of fast bubbles. You’ve somehow collected all the dots, too. You are so close to perfection. But now you’ve landed on a bubble that’s spinning at half speed. Do you have the patience to successfully time your next shot? Or have you already twitched and misfired?

3. Balance of difficulty: You don’t have to be all that accurate with your shots to safely leap from bubble to bubble. This is great for users who just want to finish levels. But if you want to collect all of the dots, you have a much smaller window to hit. And based on the two factors discussed above, this becomes all the more intense.

Rotate Zen Journey Yellow

Oh, and those bubbles that look like buzzsaws? Yeah, they kill you instantly.

Some advice:

Perfect the levels. This is where Rotate – Zen Journey really shines. The game is already fun, but trying to ace a level is incredibly fun. And quite challenging.

A heads-up:

I’m not sure it’s possible to ace Level 16 in the Red (first) World. It seems like the first bubble rotates in the wrong direction, making it impossible to collect that first dot and stay alive. However, if anybody has found a solution, please let me know. I’d be interested in how you did it.

Other goodies:

The abstract look and feel of this game works really well, as do the colors.

Rotate Zen Journey Purple

A very fun and challenging game to master.

Try it out:

Highly recommended! Rotate – Zen Journey (by Lemon Jam Studio) is available for free on iOS.


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Good Games Buried Deep #1 – SWAY

The first game I’d like to highlight is SWAY – Red Box Gray Box (by Focal Point LLC).  This game intrigued me the first time I played it, and it’s continued to grow on me since.

Sway Title Screen

Don’t let the simple design fool you!

Quick description:

A side-scrolling endless “runner” with a very interesting gameplay mechanic.  The minimalistic art design may not catch your eye, but don’t let that keep you from experiencing a creative and rewarding challenge.

Why this game is worth playing:

The gameplay.  The controls are deceptively simple (all you gotta do is tap!), but there is some real complexity in how your sprite responds to your actions.  The red square you control has a gray weight attached to it.  As you float throughout the stages, the gray square swings along with you, weighing you down, affecting your momentum, and altering the direction your jumps will take you.  At times, it can be very hard to predict where your red square will end up after you tap.  However, this seeming randomness is part of what makes this game so deep and interesting.  Simple, mindless tapping will not make you successful.  You’ll have to be alert and ready to make quick adjustments when a jump doesn’t go quite as expected if you want to progress far into the stages.

Sway Screenshot

Think you’ll clear the saw blade with ease? Perhaps not with the ball and chain!  Er… square and chain.

Some advice:

Stick with it.  This game is punishingly hard at first as you try to get a grasp on how exactly the red square is going to travel according to your actions.  ANY black surface you touch kills you instantly, so it’s going to be frustrating.  You need to be willing to experiment with your approaches (quick taps, delayed taps, tap and holds, etc.) to better know how to deal with upcoming obstacles.  It’s tough, but once you get a rhythm going, it’s incredibly addicting.

Secret tip:

If you swipe backwards (to the left) with two fingers (such as your left thumb and your right thumb), the red square will actually bounce back.  This may give you a little extra time to respond to an approaching obstacle.

Other goodies:

Turn on the sound.  The music is good and very much adds to the atmosphere and feel of the game.

Sway Screenshot 2

I hope you have a plan in mind. And then I hope you’re ready to change it!

Try it out:

SWAY – Red Box Gray Box (by Focal Point LLC) is available for free on iOS.


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Good Games Buried Deep

Your App Lost in a Sea of Trash

It’s time to go digging for shinies! (Original via)

As part of a new approach that I can only assume will soon join the ranks of my other “Failed App Marketing Strategies”, I’ve been hanging out on the Touch Arcade forums in the hopes of attracting a little more attention to my games.  Regardless of whether or not that comes to fruition, I still think it’s been a good use of time.  The forums have been far more interesting and enlightening (and even fun!) than I thought they’d be.

One of the things I’ve been doing is going through the New Game threads looking for games that haven’t gotten many replies or views.  Yes, some of those games are low quality (whether first programming attempts or just poorly tested).  Some of them are major fixer-uppers.  But some are actually really interesting and deserve more attention than they’re getting.  And those are the games I’d like to highlight in a new series of posts.

So, without further ado, it’s time to write some articles that no one will ever read about some games that no one will ever play… which is too bad because these games are definitely worth a try and have a lot of potential.


Filed under Good Games Buried Deep, Other Apps