Price: $0.99 Rating: 8/10 Category: Entertainment

Jason Smith, the mastermind behind ColorDodge Labs’ Uzu for iPad describes his app as “a kinetic multitouch particle visualizer…A sort-of math-physics-art-toy for anyone who’s ever wanted to grab the stars and throw them across the sky.”

The claim sounds huge, but in a way that’s how it feels to play with Uzu, the app named after the Japanese word for “vortex.” Press begin on the rasta colored introductory screen and you escape to a piece of quantum physics inspired interactive art that feels like an entirely new world.

The app reacts to up to ten touch points, making a great landscape for a sort of Twister-like finger jig that turns bright tiny particles into thick lines jetting across the screen in all their glory. Uzu is the kind of app you might pick up and say, “That’s all it does?” only to find yourself mesmerized by the Zen Garden like experience that changes from tornadoes to fireballs and confetti based on your every gesture. A partial list of the types of responses based on touch are listed below:

1 Finger: Particle Chaos
2 Fingers: Little Fireballs
3 Fingers: A spinning vortex that chases your fingers
4 Fingers: A particle vortex that moves in the opposite direction
5 Fingers: 3D looking space that allows you to throw the particles around
6 Fingers: A subtle sliding snow storm
7 Fingers: A 3D looking spiral
8 Fingers: A collapse and expand spiral
9 Fingers: Butterfly fireworks
10 Fingers: Big flying confetti

Bottom Line: In a world flooded with heavy stimulus games, Uzu is a refreshing twist. A quiet, serenity inducing experience that’s quiet, easy, and just plain fun. If you’ve got a buck to spare, this is a fascinating and relaxing app.

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