This week I began playing Prune, an iOS game with a very simple premise: prune trees until their flowers bloom.
The trees themselves grow quickly. You swipe your finger up from the ground and the trunk of the tree starts sprouting into the air. Each level (in level 1) begins in shade, and limbs begin to branch out in multiple directions to reach the sun (there are obstacles in the way of direct sunlight) so that flowers can bloom. This completes a level.
In order to help the tree reach the sunlight, you have to prune limbs, just as the title suggests. This is your only action as the player. All you do is aid the plant's growth. That's it. The result is something truly meditative.
I have not progressed far into the game--I've completed all 12 levels of the first stage--so this isn't by any means a comprehensive review. But I can tell you is how this game has made me feel thus far: relaxed.
Monument Valley was a crowning achievement, and it made me feel a sense of awe. But it did not relax me in the same way Prune has. And that's fine. They are different games, with different aims. The two share a similar aesthetic, but where Monument Valley was a beautiful and complex puzzle, Prune is a beautiful and simple problem. The solitary mechanic of cutting limbs is your only interaction with the tree after it sprouts; the rest is determined by the environment. The player aids the tree, but does not do so by defeating the environment. Instead, you're helping create something beautiful, non-intrusively, by bringing vegetation to a barren expanse.
Prune is the perfect sort of game to play at the end of the day in order to enter a calm state of mind.