Also available on Wii, 3DS, and PlayStation 4
Art of Balance initially released as a WiiWare game and, after receiving a lot of praise from players and critics alike, was ported to 3DS, Wii U, and PS4. I got it on Wii U when it was offered as a reward for gold coins on My Nintendo a while back, but it wasn't until I was getting ready to move last month and had most of my games and consoles packed up that I decided to play it. I didn't need the TV to play it, so it seemed like the perfect game.
Art of Balance is the epitome of a casual "just chill, man" type of puzzle game. You have a set of blocks, and you have to stack them in such a way that they stay stacked without falling over for thee seconds. That's it. That's the entire game. It does throw you some curve balls along the way - there are blocks that shatter if three blocks are stacked on them, blocks that shatter a few seconds after a block is placed on them, and blocks that shatter if the same kind of block touched it, for example - but the base objective remains the same.
The early levels start off REALLY easy. The first half of the game, really, is nice and relaxing; it's the second half that gets to be pretty challenging, and the last quarter or so can be downright frustrating. It never stops being fun, though, and it's a fantastic game for flexing your spacial reasoning skills. Because it auto-saves after each level, it's perfect to pick up and play if you've only got ten minutes here and there, too. The backgrounds are super zen and tranquil, too, really emphasizing the relaxing nature of the game. All of the block-stacking is done on some kind of platform in a pool of water; if your blocks touch the water, you have to start over. The splash when they hit the water is almost satisfying in a way, though, so not until the later levels when it gets hard does that splash ever get annoying or taunting in any way.
Art of Balance is pretty much the best game if you're looking for a chill way to unwind and exercise your brain a little bit. It definitely gets tough towards the end, but it's never insurmountable if you have some patience, and it's a fantastic game for short bursts. It's $9 on the Wii U eShop (not sure about other platforms, but the Wii Shop Channel is gone, so that part's a moot point), and with eight worlds each consisting of probably 10 or 15 levels, there's definitely $9 worth of content in the game. I definitely recommend this one.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.