Depending on how you look at it, Enzo might be minimalist art disguised as a mobile game. There are no exploding candies in psychedelic colors. No ancient ruins. Instead, Enzo strips gaming down to its most primitive forms—straight lines, a constrained color palette, and some surprisingly challenging puzzles.
The Premise Is Simple Enough: Lines of Color Shoot Across a Circle
When a line hits the edge of the circle, a new line appears. The lines alternate between two colors, and the player has to rotate the circle so that only lines of the same color ever cross paths. When two orange lines cross, for example, they're cleared, increasing the score and also the speed of play (and offering a quick jolt of satisfaction).
"I was trying to create a slightly zen, peaceful experience."
As a player's score increases, they unlock new background and line colors (watch a trailer at wildrosegames.com/enzo). "I was trying to create a slightly zen, peaceful experience," says Enzo's creator, independent game designer Chris Makris, "but one that was elevated by having a visual reward with careful and sensitive design."
It's no surprise Makris's entry point into the gaming industry was as an artist. After studying graphic design and illustration at Alberta College of Art and Design, Makris moved to New York City where he cut his teeth working on the visual components of gaming at various game studios. He built 3-D environments for a PlayStation title, experimented with design while working on the Nintendo DS games, and began learning to code.
Makris first began working on the game that would become Enzo in 2012, during what is essentially the independent game designer's yearly carnivale, Global Game Jam. Over the course of a single weekend, at various locations around the world, gamers either form small groups or work independently to create and present a game based on a theme.
"It's a bit of a shit show, but it's also just so cool that everyone around the world is building stuff at the same time really quickly," says Makris. "The Jam theme that year was ouroboros, the symbol of the snake eating its tail. I made a game that was very similar to Enzo, at the time called Enso [a zen symbol that resembles the ouroboros]."
The designer returned to Enzo (the name change was an accidental misspelling that Makris kept) earlier this year. "When I was revising the game, I thought a lot about shapes from the '70s and '80s, shapes you would have seen in an advertisement in a mall," Makris says. "I think using simple shapes and colors that pop, creates a vibe that doesn't feel totally current. I like how that separates the aesthetics from other games out there right now—they just feel overwhelming."
Share this with your friends to see if they want to play Enzo. Then head to the App Store, download the game, and brag about your high score!