Mindo™ Zen Logic Game

Hours of peaceful brain teasing in a small, compact box.
To solve the puzzles, turn and flip the double-sided tiles until you recreate the color pattern on 60 different challenge cards, with 4 levels of difficulty. They only fit one way into the 4×4 grid — so can you figure it out?

The Good

Portability (+6)

The size of this box can fit in your hands, so this could easily be in your bag, backpack, what have you. Shoot, you could even have it in your work messenger bag and reach your zen place during lunchtime. The cards and tiles fit in the box without taking up too much cardboard so you won’t find that it is heavy. Overall, it isn’t a table hog and I would even dare to say that you could play this on the airplane tray table.

Cute and Colorful Art (+6)

I’m generally a fan of pop colors (e.g. lime, tangerine, and others) so this game caught my eye on the shelf at our local store immediately. Granted, there may be a little appropriation here considering the artwork — not all zen things are Asian, you know. It also very much alludes to chakras if you’re into that sort of thing.

Appropriate Difficulty Progression (+4)

There are two variations on easy, followed by medium, and expert. The number of starting symbols and orientations of colors drives the challenge difficulties. As a result, the game provides some training as the levels of difficulty increase to make this a pleasant journey.

Permutation Training (+6)

Difficulty leads us to permutations; in order to perform well at this game, you need to be able to recognize all possibilities in your attempts to meet the criteria of the grid challenge. Only looking at things horizontally or only looking at things vertically will not lead you to success in this game. Consequently, non-linear thinking is key.

The Bad

Orientation Lawyering (-1)

It’s important to correctly orient the symbols or else it is not considered a success. The only exception is tiles that show the same symbol twice. I haven’t tested this out yet — so it may not even be relevant to note — but there may be ways to solve a puzzle without paying attention to orientation. It would be a bit annoying to have spent that much time artificially restricted if I were to find out… so maybe I shouldn’t look into it?

No Real Feels of Difficulty (-2)

If you’re taking the time to create completely different cards or levels of hints, it should feel at least somewhat like an accomplishment. When you move across levels of difficulty, you think “Yes! What’s the next level like?” and are severely disappointed that it isn’t noticeably harder. Expert is a really prestigious and loaded word to use for the kind of challenge — or lack thereof — this game provides you.

“And Up” is Only Partially True (-2)

Now, I’m unsure if I’m just talented at this sort of logic puzzle or if the publisher was just lazy at identifying the full range of this game. I qualify for the “And Up” age group but that doesn’t mean I would necessarily have fun or be challenged by this. I skipped straight to “expert” and performed fine. The delay difference between easy and expert was only about 1-2 minutes, which translates to about 30-45 seconds spent more per level.

The Ugly

Online Details about Age Group (0)

I felt super embarrassed when looking up details about this game; the grade level assignment for this was 3-8. It’s not like I was blasting through these puzzles with 25+ years of mental exercise on this group, but does this make me a 13 year old?! I don’t think so.

Order of the Cards (-0.5)

When you open the box, all of the cards are not in order from easy to difficult. Even better, the numbers are not in order so — if you’re like me — you have to take a moment and organize it before you can even get started. I suppose if you’re getting this game after reading this article, and you’re confident that your puzzle prowess is similar to mine, it won’t matter since all difficulty levels are relatively close.

Solution vs Puzzle – Graphic Distinctions (-1)

Along the same lines of the previous gripe, I take a concerted effort to make sure I’m not on the solution side of the card. Consequently for a “zen game” I’m stressed out before I even start! You’d think they could have just grayed out the solution side; there’s no reason why you would need to remind yourself what difficulty your solution is for.

Double-Sided Tiles (-0.5)

This is more of a complaint than anything that I would say is a major Ugly Point but it has nowhere else to go but here. I have a difficult time remembering what is on the other side of these tiles, so I am repeatedly flipping them over when I’m trying to meet a section of the grid in front of me. Super annoying, but again — manageable.

Difficulty: 1/5 for Novice
Satisfaction Grade: B (84%) for Great
Worth Your Money? No.