The Zen Garden by Privateer

This is a text-only brainteaser (with some sound) inspired by Japanese art and haiku.

It's not easy!

It has been designed to be explored and contemplated over endless cups of green tea.

(I highly recommend downloading this game rather than playing online. Some players have encountered difficulties with online play in the later stages.)

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Review by TheSinnamonRoll
20 Aug 2022
Extremely well done game! Descriptive, includes audio cues that are fitting for the occasion, and has some unique puzzles that set it apart from other games. One of my favourite parts is the attention to world building in this game, by drawing on Japanese lore and history. Some of the commands are a little niche, but that also adds to the feeling of the game. This game clearly had a lot of heart put into it, and was an excellent play, and equally rewarding to finish. Very well done, Privateer!

Review by superridley
24 Apr 2020
OMG Finally beat it!
It wasn't easy! did warn me :P Excellent game
needed a few hints along the way, but I kinda feel like I missed out by not solving it all myself. Assuming I'd ever finish.

Review by GameofChocolate
09 Jul 2017
I had a hard time making tea which is fine, I was willing to work that out. However when it says I can go into the hut but I can't work out how, I gave up. Puzzles are fine but your directionals need to be more clear.

Review by Happysnap101
30 May 2017
A really clever game - took ages to complete [and with plenty of help from the comments/reviews!


Review by kendrafortune
09 May 2017
This is a really well crafted game with some genuinely difficult puzzles to solve. I definitely couldn't have solved it without the hints given in the comments here. Be prepared to take your time with it.

Review by ButterflyT
19 Apr 2017
This game was INCREDIBLY ENTICING. I don't know if it's just the fact I like to solve puzzles, but these puzzles were so thoughtfully created that I had to come back each time and get a little further. I did find it a bit difficult at times and was a bit put off that there was no walkthrough; but having played the game till the end I am SO GLAD there isn't, it actually forced me to explore and use my noggin a little bit! Not only that, but if you do get stuck, the author of the game is ready and willing to lend you a hand!

Review by leonard8811
30 Sep 2016
Great game. More satisfying that all of the "video" games I have played. Just as reading a book has richer detail than watching a film, this game allows the imagination to "see". Something that is often missing from this day and age.

The details are all carefully placed. There is very little that isn't needed, allowing the attentive mind to see clearly the connections and subtle suggestions made.

Thanks for your work in creating this experience : )

Review by DavyB
17 Aug 2016
I played the Zen Garden through to ‘completion’ a month ago but decided to work through it again before putting in a review, as I’d missed some of the puzzles, including the maze. Going through a second time, I still found much to enjoy, as I could step back and appreciate it more, and also found a few elements that I’d missed on the first pass.

As others have said, this is a challenging game, and I was only able to complete it by looking at several of the hints given to others who had run into difficulty. Because of the challenge, it was very satisfying in cases where no hint was needed. :)

There is so much to like about this game! It is very well written and tightly designed across a relatively small number of locations. The use of sound in a few specific places, especially the collection of the pottery, was very effective and significantly added to the overall experience.

There seem to be quite a few red herrings in the game, judging by the items I had at the end, but perhaps I missed a role for them? The only herring that delayed me was <spoiler>a suggestion that there were resources to make tea at the beginning, when in reality it was only towards the end that I had enough knowledge to actually complete the task</spoiler>.

The game is also very well implemented and, so far, for me, is the best I have found on the site. It is particularly impressive that this appears to be the first game from Privateer. After a gap of nearly three years, perhaps there is another in the pipeline? ...despite the considerable effort that is clearly needed to reach this standard!

Review by Cyril
16 Aug 2016
Beautifully done! Very nice story line with intriguing puzzles. Not an easy game to win. Well worth the effort. In many ways more detailed than other text adventure games. Requires you to really pat attention to details and to search patiently. Not a game for those who expect immediate gratification. But for those with patience and determination a very fun and challenging game. Well worth playing again and again.

Review by Fantasylover22
08 Aug 2016
Amazing! I warn you IT IS HARD but that just makes it all the more satisfying when you find a clue! Although there is no walk-through/hint privateer is great at getting back to comments so just leave a comment if you get stuck. It is so fun and my only tip is to examine EVERYTHING!

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Written for Quest 5.3
Published 24 Aug 2013
Updated 21 Jun 2016

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