Welcome back to our weekly spotlight on helpful apps. We focus on a variety of products that are useful for work, personal use, or both, providing our own thoughts on the apps and what you can do with them. This week we’re taking a step toward mindfulness with an iOS game called Zirkel.
An intro to Zirkel
Zirkel is a puzzle game for iPhone, iPad and iPod designed by Marc-André Weibezahn that features 80 unique geometric puzzles. The goal is to connect flames moving around glowing rings by figuring out when to start them moving to meet in their rotation – made all the more tricky by the fact that some circles are bigger than others and some flames move faster. The fewer attempts you make to connect the flames, the more stars you’ll collect.
I downloaded Zirkel as a mindfulness tool to help me relax on my train journeys home from work. The visuals and atmospheric soundtrack by Léel are perfect for entering a semi-meditative state. I’ve often found myself focusing so much on the game that I’ve almost missed my stop.
But that’s the point of mindfulness – you’re giving your brain something to focus on so you can forget about the fact that you had so much to do during the day and more to do when you get back to the office tomorrow morning. Watching those little flames move around the rings and waiting for the right time to start another one on its path definitely captures my attention and manages to keep it for my whole journey.
The simple yet crystal-clear graphics are easy on the eye and the music does wonders for blocking out the “ambient” noise of the train and its passengers. If you’d rather listen to your own music, you can turn off the in-game soundtrack. And if you want to show your friends what the game is all about, you can set up the app to record your screen – very cool.
It may be a very basic design, but sometimes the mind needs to concentrate on something simple to wind down after a busy day.
Now I’ll be honest; I’m the kind of person who gets competitive with myself – I’ve played through all the levels of the same Mahjong app several times just to beat my personal record. Keep that in mind when I say one of my favourite things in Zirkel is trying to get better at each puzzle by playing it over and over again. Seeing the flash that lets you know you’ve been successful and seeing stars appear at the top of the screen is more rewarding than it probably should be. However, the creator of Zirkel says the point of the game is contemplation. So if that’s what you’re after, you’ve landed on the right app – and all for only £1.49 from the App Store.
Do you have a favourite new app you’d like to review for us? Send it to Deputy Editor Molly Dyson at firstname.lastname@example.org.