Zen and the Art of Pottery
Zen gaming is a strange concept, but it’s one I find myself frequently drawn to. It’s exemplified by games like Flower, where players aren’t chasing high scores and slaying dragons, but focusing on a simple, mellow task. Let’s Create! Pottery captures that zen gaming spirit with absolute perfection.
The title tells you everything you need to know here. Let’s Create! Pottery is a game that’s solely about creating pottery. Players will be presented with a spinning piece of clay already in the shape of container, and they can stretch and shape to their heart’s content. Once they feel they’ve perfected their pottery, players can fire it in a kiln and decorate it with a variety of stencils and paints. Let’s Create is like a trip to the pottery studio, minus the mess or the need for actual skill.
If all of this sounds a little too directionless for your liking, don’t worry – there are objectives if you want them. Checking your “inbox” on the main screen will present you with emails from people who want to put your pottery skills to good use. They’ll request something specific and provide a picture of what it should look like. It’ll be up to you to try and match their request as best you can. A star rating system will let you know how close you are to pleasing your customer, so you can tweak and aim for a better score as you go along.
Sending your completed projects off to customers will earn you money, which you can in turn use to buy more things like paints and stencils. If you’d rather stay the directionless route, you can earn money by selling your completed projects at market – though it won’t be nearly what you’ll make by filling the special orders that come to your inbox.
Crafting pottery is a great experience, but Let’s Create‘s presentation manages to shine brighter than almost anything else in the game. The game’s audio track is all about nature, with the sounds of birds and bugs chirping creating a wonderfully calming experience. Visually, the game’s 3D presentation is stunning. Sure we’re just talking about a piece of clay spinning on a potter’s wheel, but that doesn’t make the level of detail and technical prowess that have gone into the graphics any less impressive.
While there’s really nothing to complain about with Let’s Create! Pottery, there are some areas of improvement that didn’t go unnoticed. The game lacked any form of a tutorial, instead opting for a guide that’s available on the developer’s website. And since there’s something of a trick to getting the pottery to shape how you want, this led to some pretty heavy frustration during the first stages of our play through.
And while the game is still exquisite on the iPhone, there’s no doubting that this is an iPad game through and through. Having the extra room to make larger motions with your fingers or daintily apply a some paint takes this offering from an A to an A+, but unless you own an iPad that’s simply not a difference you’re going to experience. To make matters worse, this isn’t a universal offering, so if you really want to try it on both you’ll need to shell out for the same purchase twice. We suggest that you take our word for it and stick to the iPad version if you can.
Finally, there’s simply no denying that the zen experience of pottery craft isn’t going to be for everybody. For gamers looking for a quick fix of action or challenge or a high score drive, there’s none of that to be had here. Games like Let’s Create! Pottery are the inverse of everything else you see on the App Store. It’s appealing, but it can also be a real double-edged sword.
For those searching for a mellow, relaxing experience, Let’s Create! Pottery is money well spent. It may not have all the trappings that real life pottery has to offer, like messy hands or the ghost of Patrick Swayze, but if you’re comfortable with a digital recreation, you can safely consider Let’s Create! Pottery the next best thing.