March 3, 2016

Three Is For Tranquility: 3 Mobile Apps That Help You Find Your Zen

By Amy Y.

March 3rd is I Want You To Be Happy Day and I would like to share some of my favorite game apps that are relaxing, soothing, and sweet. Feel content during the little lulls in your workday or during your personal quiet time when the day is ending. 

All of these apps are available for iPhone or Android.

Bejeweled Classic – Zen Mode 5/5

Image from PopCap Games.
While Bejeweled is of course not a new game, but I was recently introduced to Zen Mode which is a non-competitive version that simply allows you to enjoy their traditional color-matching without goals.  

You are given multiple Zen options which include ambient sounds: Ocean Surf, Crickets, Rain on Leaves, Waterfall, Coastal, and Forest, and you can decide the intensity of these sounds.

There are also mantras to add: General, Positive Thinking, Quit Bad Habits, Prosperity, Self-Confidence, and Weight Loss. You can decide if these will be subliminal messages or overt, and you can adjust their visibility. These are visual cues.

Then choose your breathing modulation. You can enable or disable, adjust the speed, and you can adjust the volume. Controlled breathing can help you focus your mantras in a traditional pattern.

The best part of Zen Mode is the ability to customize each individual part depending on your mood or stress level. For general game-play options, you can mute all sounds or adjust your music, voice, and color-match sound effects. My advice is to follow the Zen mantras and practice light meditation. To do this, decrease the Bejeweled sound effects to a minimum, lower the music volume, and increase your nature and breathing options. 

Then, you can sit back and enjoy a precious moment to zone out. Preview Bejeweled’s Zen options!

Neko Atsume 4/5

Image from Hit-Point Co., Ltd.
I call this the kitty game. For all the cat lovers out there, this game lets you befriend a plethora of adorable kitties. One drawback is that the tutorial lasts a long time, odd for such a simple game, and it’s impossible to skip. 

But I did eventually buy cat food and watch some kitties, which were quite cute, even though the introduction was rather tiresome. However! All of my friends adore this game and are constantly letting me know that I will love it the more I play:

Tess: “It’s relaxing because you really don’t have time limits or goals. You [can acquire accessories] at whatever pace you set for yourself, you can leave it alone for days and come back. You aren’t stressed because you aren’t taking care of the cats; they’re just visiting and then go home! The only drawback is that they can take several minutes to show up and will disappear when you run out of food.”

Cathy: “Neko totally works offline. The only thing you need network access for is the daily password. This is optional—it gives you extra “money” but you don’t need it to play. I love it. You can’t do it wrong.”

This game wasn’t visually stimulating to me; however some people may enjoy that if they are feeling stress or fatigue. For people with high anxiety, I think it’s the perfect game. You can’t die and you can’t fail. Preview Neko Atsume!

Zen Koi 5/5

Image from LandShark Games.
I’m new to this game, but so far I really like it! There’s very little in terms of its tutorial but it’s very intuitive, which makes it easier to jump into than Neko Atsume’s long tutorial.

You are a Koi fish in a small pond. The adorable, crisp graphics are reminiscent of Pixar’s Finding Nemo. Highly colorful, three-dimensional, and fantastical. A dream Koi pond. The water is a bright and clear, clean blue. The Koi and tiny fish (Koi food) are vibrant. The plants look soft and lush.

The object of the game so far is to feed your Koi, breed them to increase your Koi population, and mix food items to craft powers. Although, what type of powers remains a mystery thus far. You can also simply swim around.

It appears there are some potentially dangerous plants? They are pinkish red and, when you touch them, the screen begins turning red too. However, I have yet to discover what this means or whether it’s bad for your Koi. So far, it does not seem possible to die or fail in any way. In any event, the red plants are easy to avoid.

It’s possible that the game becomes more difficult as you play but, at lower levels, swimming around while chasing and eating tiny fish is quite calm and lovely. The sounds are low-key Zen music with soft drums and a tinkling, high melody.

The negative aspect of the game is that it is rather vague in some areas, such as why you craft food items to get powers. I have not figured out what these powers do besides swirl around my Koi’s body. Why does the screen turn red when you touch the weird plants? Yet, the attractive graphics and mellow gameplay more than make up for any oddity. You’ll simply shrug your shoulders, keep on playing, and become addicted to that Zen feeling. Preview Zen Koi!

All of these games are a fun and relaxing way to unwind or take a moment to chill. While not on the same level as a full guided meditation, these are free and don’t require you to constantly purchase lessons to continue (extremely uncool when is completely free). Nor are there highly intrusive ads which tend to reverse one’s path to peace.

Bejeweled contains ads, but they do not interrupt the game during play. As for Zen Koi, you can make in app purchases of pearls to attain greater heights, but this isn’t necessary for general enjoyment. Within Neko, occasionally a cat will bring you a pamphlet with an ad but according to my friends and my experience thus far, you rarely see them, if ever, and any other ads are contained within menus and you will never be forced to click on them.

.Have you tried any of these apps?  Let the Tek Team know in the comment section about your experience!  Feel free to also list any other Meditation or Zen apps that you love or share which paid versions you think work best.

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