Occasionally during a Steam sale I'll grab a bunch of short, cheap puzzlers to play in between the longer games in my backlog. After finishing the fantastic Golf Peaks, I quickly jumped into Zenge in need of something simpler to tickle my brain. But Zenge is... I'm not sure what to say about it. Similar to its cousin Hook, its a game about following lines more than anything else, and unless the pretty art strikes your fancy, Zenge will fail to leave much of an impression.
Like a lot of the puzzlers I have, Zenge is so cheap that it makes no sense to discourage anyone from trying it. I mean, for four US quarters the game lasts about two hours and doesn't bombard you with any stupid design decisions. But on the flip side there's not really anything fascinating about it. The biggest draw Zenge has going for it is that after completing a puzzle, a picture will materialize that links the previous and future puzzles together. But the story the game tells is more of an abstract journey out of the pages of a child's book than it is an adventurous yarn that draws you in. That's not a knock against Zenge or children's books; it'll probably just be something you either fancy or don't. And personally, despite how much I appreciate awarding the player with art post-puzzle, that wasn't the main reason I picked the game up—the puzzles were.
And this is where I struggle to think up a lot of things to say about Zenge. It starts off simple enough to ease you into its various mechanics, but by the end you don't feel tested on your mastery or blown away at how all the systems come together. Like Hook, the bigger the puzzles get the more mindless busywork you have to do to make sure the various jigsaw pieces can move around each other and slot into place. There's nothing that'll stump you or flip your understand on how to play the game upside-down. You'll simply move pieces and then rotate or shrink them if they won't fit. And that's basically its entire playbook.
The one thing Zenge has over Golf Peaks is that its music is very soothing and beautiful. But presentation alone usually isn't enough to win me over, and Zenge is not an exception to this rule. The game enjoyable enough that I actively sought to finish it and didn't regret my time spent, but it's likely you won't hear me talk about Zenge outside of this one, lone blog post.