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Rock Garden Deluxe


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Rating: 4.1/5 (136 votes)
Comments (12) | Views (2,181)

JamesRock Garden DeluxeAh, zen. In this crazy old world today it's something we all yearn for. Not that it is easy to explain what Zen actually is. Inner peace? Less stress? Shorter lines at Starbucks? Sure, we could all aspire to live on a tropical island for the rest of our lives, but we'd get bored. And all that sand? A nightmare! No, you are better off getting your peace of mind in small doses, pushing around little stones in the captivating and brainy puzzle game Rock Garden Deluxe from Flipline Studios.

Things could not be easier: you have to herd all of the identical stones into clusters, at which point they will flip over with the uniform efficiency of a Mexican Wave. The trick is getting them together. A stone is flicked into a direction and it will perpetually travel until it hits a boundary or obstacle. A board with one or two stone types is relatively easy to crack, but when the game starts to hit four it gets tricky. Every board is shaped differently, both on its boundaries and inside, making the shuffling a more deliberate endeavour. You have to maneuver a stone around bends, past other stones and into its own group. but once a set of stones has flipped, none of them can be moved. So you have to keep your end game in mind and not accidentally corner a stone beyond redemption. That just causes stress...

At first glance it seems the trick is to finish a puzzle with the least number of moves. Instead, Rock Garden measures you by speed. There is not limit on how long you can take, but the closer you get to the stage's best time, the more stars you get. Beat or equal it and you get the full five, plus from Level 15 onwards you can win a special stone from selected levels. These stones go towards your collection, which is a trophy room of sorts, plus they expand the collection of stones you can use in the very Zen 'Your Gardens': custom levels that seem to only be about placing and flicking around stones. If you prefer a slow game, but with an actual point, you can try out the random level generator. It still keeps time, but no high score.

Rock Garden Deluxe is a strange breed, because it is peaceful to play and yet turns into a thoroughly challenging puzzle game where you learn to think a few steps ahead. This is the full game with 100 levels and a commercial version is also available to buy. Whichever you choose, flicking around stones with little care in the world has never felt more rewarding.

Play Rock Garden Deluxe

12 Comments

delzoup July 2, 2010 11:13 AM

The game was interesting, but too many ads: to start the game, after level 3, and every level after level 5--and the levels are only 30-50 seconds long.

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Another otherwise fun concept that's not playable if you're colorblind. I'd love for the block to have symbols along with the colors to help out.

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Beautiful graphics... but the gameplay doesn't seem to change much. I kept going, expecting a twist or new element of challenge, but around level 25, I decided they were just going to give me more and more stones.

It's a great start for another fun sokoban-style game, but the gameplay lacks something.

Also agree about there being way too many ads.

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cant agree more with above....I was pretty much comatose by level 10

It just doesn't put up much of a fight really.

Don't wish to insult but one for the insomniacs amongst us

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PlasmaSheep July 2, 2010 4:22 PM

The gameplay mechanic isn't all too bad, but it's taken waayy too far (this could only work for 10 or so levels with no twists) and the ads are off-putting.

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Aside from the mundanity, I thought it was a fairly great concept-Somewhat unique!

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dessyroo July 3, 2010 12:25 AM

Speaking as one who stayed out a bit too late last night and woke up with the teeeeniest of headaches....I think it's perfect. Easy gameplay, smooth mechanics, chirping crickets...I can almost believe my regretful moans of pain are starting to sound like "ooooohhhhhmmmm."

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The relaxing atmosphere and overall feel... five stars.

Everything else... poor. It's slow, repetitive and after 10 levels or so horribly boring. I kept waiting for a level that won't allow me to simply brute force it through, but the game insisted on simply enlarging the playing field ad nauseam.

Whoever was responsible for graphics design should team up with a crew who knows how to create an actual 'game', otherwise all you get is an interactive screensaver.

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zbeeblebrox July 4, 2010 12:26 AM

Great sound effects, and the visuals are pleasing too. But I've got a beef: people have got to stop using "Deluxe" in game titles. It's pretty much the worst descriptive word. When I see "deluxe" I think of word processors, Solitaire, and Golf computer games from 97.

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Has all the pleasure of sorting out a box of buttons but sadly all the intellectual challenge as well. 40 levels and not even a bit of a head scratch, so I gave up/

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Anonymous August 3, 2010 8:55 AM

I really like this game. The sounds and the colors are relaxing. It doesn't matter to me that it doesn't add a lot of new challenges. I like collecting the stones.

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I really enjoy the non-flashiness of this game. It's very relaxing to play ... sound of birds and crickets, natural colors and textures. I agree the early levels are way too easy. I easily met the best time on each level ... until about level 30 or so. On the higher levels I completely gave up on meeting (or beating) the best time, I just aimed to solve the level logically. At the moment I can't get past level 77. I keep going back to it because I'm sure there's some leap of logic I haven't made that will let me solve it. In the meantime it's driving me crazy ... even with the "serene" environment. :)

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