Swap tiles to solve scrambled color palettes while mellowing out to beautiful ambient music.
There’s nothing to be concerned about here. har∙mon∙y 2 gets a gold star for family friendliness!
Pro tip: Follow the game’s recommendation and play with headphones in!
Every now and then a game crosses my desk that turns out to be a welcome palette cleanser from the deluge of in-your-face, explosions-and-loud-color triple-A titles that big companies are releasing this time of year. har∙mo∙ny 2 aims to calm you and exercise your brain at the same. The final result is a fun, mellow “zen” style puzzler you shouldn’t pass up.
At its heart, har∙mo∙ny 2 is a very simple game. You essentially have a grid of colored tiles that are scrambled at the beginning and your task is to put them in order so they match a color swatch (much like what you’d pick up at your local hardware store).
While the premise sounds simple, there’s a catch: each tile on the grid will also have a number of dots. These dots represent how many times each tile must be moved in order to complete the puzzle. At first, it feels downright elementary, swapping two tiles of the same color just to eliminate the dots. You’ll quickly hit a point where those dots can wreck an entire level.
There are a total of eight “worlds.” Each world is set apart by its own unique theme that dictates color scheme and musical tone. Each of those eight worlds contains 100 puzzles. A quick bit of math reveals that 800 puzzles is a very significant offering that will take you plenty of time to work through.
I’ve personally found that the best time to play har∙mo∙ny 2 is at the end of the day, as I’m winding down and preparing to rest. I can throw on my headphones and settle in for a few puzzles. With the mellow music and calming color schemes, I’ve found that har∙mo∙ny 2 is like an app full of chamomile tea. On top of its zen focus on mellowing you out, the puzzles are genuinely fun while maintaining a real sense of challenge.
On top of the normal play of har∙mo∙ny 2, Borderleap built in a “sleep mode” that allows you to play the game for a set period of time as the music and color fade, allowing you peacefully drift toward a solid night’s rest.
Hands down, har∙mo∙ny 2′s presentation is its single strongest aspect. The visual aesthetic is simple and crisp, ensuring consistent thematic elements throughout the game. In fact, the color palettes are so simple and attractive, har∙mo∙ny 2 allows players to download completed levels as wallpapers for their phone.
With such a strong focus on the audio and visual aspects of the experience, it should come as no surprise that har∙mo∙ny 2 boasts a soundtrack that complements its color palettes. The incorporation of tunes from ambient post-rock band Hammock was an excellent choice for Borderleap, meshing deep, droning bass lines with the melodies I can only describe as both addicting and entrancing.
If I had to levy a complaint against the game, it would have to be that some of the color schemes can start to blend together a little too well, making it difficult to tell which row a specific tile should go on from time to time. Ultimately, though, it’s only serves minor frustration.
har∙mo∙ny 2 is a unique sort of game that strikes a sweet spot. It’s simple, vibrant, cohesive color palettes blend beautifully with an ambient, calming soundtrack. The result is a graceful mind-bending puzzler you can unwind with after a long, rough day. It’s clear the game has had significant work put into its design and implementation, and the result is something no puzzle fan with a smartphone should pass up.
+ Simple, beautiful visual design
+ Excellent ambient soundtrack complements design
+ 800 puzzles to solve
- Colors can start to blend on some stages, making it difficult to tell them apart