Reviews

Animated Jigsaws: Beautiful Japanese Scenery Review [Nintendo Switch] – A Digitally Zen Experience

A meditative experience.

I’ve been a fan of putting things together ever since I was a little kid. Puzzles, Erector Sets, models, and more. From Legos to Lincoln Logs, if you could build it, I would have done so. Out of all the projects I got my hands on, one, in particular, stands out from the crowd.

When I was around ten, I was given a four-thousand-piece puzzle depicting a beautiful forest. The scene consisted of various shades of green and brown, with a deer grazing amongst the trees. The sun shined through the canopy and a tiny stream flowed in the foreground. Over the course of several years, I would start and stop, sometimes obsessing over it and at other times letting it sit untouched for months on end. It took over five years for me to finish the thing, but it was worth every second of time put into it. We flipped it over, glued the back, and put the massive puzzle in a frame; there was no way I would allow that beautiful piece of art to ever be taken apart.

I was reminded of that puzzle the other day when I popped in Animated Jigsaws: Beautiful Japanese Scenery from Rainy Frog. Just as the name denotes, we have a collection of animated scenes from various locations around Japan, cut into jigsaw puzzles and presented to those who want a meditative experience for their Nintendo Switch.

Animated Jigsaws - Beautiful Japanese Scenery
Animated Jigsaws – Beautiful Japanese Scenery

There are ten animated scenes for puzzlers to choose from, ranging from 60, 120, or 240 pieces, based on preference. The famous locations include Mt. Fuji, Tokyo, Kyoto, and more. These aren’t simply static scenes, but fully animated and photo realistic. Rivers run, and the leaves blow in the wind as the images come time life with every puzzle piece put into place. The designs and detail are exceptionally beautiful.

While putting together these majestic scenes, players are treated to traditional Japanese music. The whole experience is quite Zen-like, and I found myself wanting to relax by putting together a puzzle after a hard day. The difficulty is almost nil, but one doesn’t really pick this one up to be challenged. You can even join four people together if you wanted to share the puzzle with some friends in multiplayer. It’s not necessary in the least, but an option nonetheless.

Animated Jigsaws - Beautiful Japanese Scenery
Animated Jigsaws – Beautiful Japanese Scenery

For a little-added assistance, the pieces snap into place on the main board as well as with each other when in the appropriate position. It’s a nice little feature that makes the game even more stress-free when figuring out if things fit. I found the jumbled mess all the pieces start off on to be slightly annoying, but then again, that’s how a normal puzzle is in the real world. There’s an open area on the right side of the screen in which players can keep pieces for later use, allowing you to spread things out to make the puzzle slightly more manageable.

Not all of the scenes are unlocked from the get-go. You only have a few to choose from at the start, but can unlock more with the completion of the puzzles available. It’s easy to unlock additional backgrounds, but with only ten, I hope there will be some DLC in the future which will add more selections into the mix.

Animated Jigsaws - Beautiful Japanese Scenery
Animated Jigsaws – Beautiful Japanese Scenery

Having enjoyed this experience thoroughly, I have a renewed interest in starting a new mega puzzle in the real world. Due to events in my life which are beyond my control, I have no idea what happened to that puzzle I had put together so long ago. I’d like to think it’s still hanging in a frame somewhere, with that tiny deer forever grazing amongst the trees.

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