Review: Zen Garden
I have reviewed a few "relaxing" apps in the past, the kind that produce background noise or relaxation noise (waves, birds chirping, etc). Zen Garden is another program that takes the approach of making your own zen garden to relax.
The concept of a zen garden is simple - you have a simple sand platform that you can make patterns and designs in. The process of making (and looking at) the designs is supposed to be relaxing. I don't know if it is, but I know lots of people who have bought little miniature zen gardens for their desks.
With this program, you are presented with a sand background. You simply move your finger, "painting" the design or pattern you want. If you want to have a rake like stroke, you use two fingers to create the line. That's it, nice and simple. to reset the background, you just shake the iPhone. While you are making a pattern or when you shake the iPhone, a simple three note tune plays, presumably to enhance the mood.
The sand graphics are nice, and it does look like a sandy background. The quality of the lines you draw (and rake lines) is also good - it does look like you are drawing lines through sand.
Unfortunately, that's the limit of the program. There is no ability to modify the background, play more (or different, or continuous music), add stones, or anything like that. In fact, there are three other zen garden programs that do the same as this, but with more features. If this app were free, that would be a plus for this one, but it costs $.99, the same as one other the other zen garden apps (but it is cheaper than the other two). The one feature this app seems to have that the others don't is the ability to draw two different kinds of lines (a single line or a rake line). In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a promo code to review this app.
Pros: Good graphics, can draw two different kinds of lines
Cons: Extremely limited options
All in all, if you find yourself wanting to download a zen garden app, I would have to say look elsewhere. There are no bells or whistles on this app that makes puts it ahead of the pack. If it were free, then you could take a look but for $.99, the ability to draw different kinds of lines seems lacking when touting the benefits of this app over the others. Two out of five stars.
Edit: To be fair, the one other zen garden app that is $.99 is currently on sale, so the price on that may go up, leaving this one as the cheapest price of the bunch.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.