The newly-released Stones of Solace is a free virtual treat—courtesy of developers Dziff and Armel Gibson, with composer Jason Sutherland—eager to make itself a part of your daily routine. Tune in each day for two minutes of serene relaxation and meditative rejuvenation through the power of serene visuals and music. Wake up each day to a new stone idol complete with a theme-specific tune and colour palette. Then, when you’re done taking in the sights, mix and match decorations to create your custom offering pizza to send to the digital Zen Gods. Congratulations. You’ve beaten the game, for the day.
Each idol offering presents a selection of five miscellaneous objects that you can use in unlimited quantities to decorate the offering before sending it off. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes from round to longer, curved shapes—versatile shapes to promote creativity when decorating the circle-shaped offering. If catharsis for you means customizing pizzas then this game was made for you.
That’s it. Stones of Solace isn’t about chasing after any goals or defeating any enemies; all it wants to offer to you the player, is a light sprinkle of sense pleasure to kick off or close out your day in as relaxed a manner as possible. Every sound effect, whether it’s picking up decorations, the placing, the offering, and everything else, is pleasing to the ear and matches the tone set by the warm and comfy musical accompaniment. Equally comfortable colours richen the minimalist aesthetic of the experience without being too overbearing and excessively vibrant.
Personally, I’ve had my fun with the game over the past week and certainly don’t regret taking Stones of Solace out for a test run. However, I can’t really imagine committing to this daily ritual—I’d need for there to be just a smidgen of depth or progression to convince me otherwise. Perhaps rewards for certain combinations or arrangements of decorations, even if it’s just some fun, audiovisual feedback? Whether all that sounds good enough to make it part of your daily meditation is entirely up to you, but it’s a quick and, more importantly, free download, so what do you really have to lose?
A self-deprecating, overly sarcastic pair of glasses that occasionally possesses a human host in order to partake in the delightful process of playing video games, then immediately complaining about them. When he is not playing games (a rare occurrence), he can be found either writing about things that no one cares about, or haunting the quiet streets of his Canadian suburb.