Nature always finds a way…
Prune is an unique gaming experience and as such it’s kinda hard explaining to you, the reader, why you should not skip playing it. It is a game about trees, planting and pruning them so they can absorb the sunlight to bloom. See, that sounds strange as heck, but please bear with me for a couple of minutes.
Mechanically, it’s a really simple game, as the only things you do are swipe up on the glowing part to plant the tree and prune the unnecessary branches so the necessary ones can reach the sunlight. But things get progressively harder as you plough through the game. New mechanics, cool mechanics, are introduced to make your life a tad more difficult. Black and red objects block your path to sunlight which can simply destroy the branches or infect them stopping the growth. Blue spots act as “steroids” for your tree where multiple branches spurt out spreading quickly to absorb that much needed sunlight.
There are also a couple of other interesting mechanics that when are combined with the previously mentioned ones, make for some intriguing puzzles later in the game. Prune is not a thinking man puzzle game and I say that with no negative underline whatsoever, in contrary, that’s what I liked the most about it. Randomness, unpredictability or luck, call it what you want, plays a big part in this game.
You don’t really have much control on the tree itself, how it grows, how straight or swirly the trunk is, what branches form first, how the whole tree reacts on the wind etc. So it’s not all about your Fruit Ninja cutting skill, you have to fight/embrace luck like you do with a real plant or bonsai trees in real life and this is where the zen-y part of the game comes from, plant; prune; fail; repeat. Of course the excellent beautiful minimalist artstyle and gracefully meditative score help, like a lot.
Now the more I replay the levels I skipped in my first run, cause the game allows you that if you can’t pass a level, the more I understand that the dev is trying to tell us something. Seeing the art of the game for a second time, the animation when you pass to the next “world” and especially the last two levels of the game deliver a powerful message, one you have to uncover yourself. Or if you are smart enough you can get what it is by reading the headline at the top.
So what else remain to say about Prune? It’s iOS exclusive, costs $3.99 no in-app-purchases; no bullsh*t, works like a charm and well, it’s essential. Thanks for reading!