Prune has been in development for around a year and a half, and during that time McDonald toyed with all kinds of ideas to flesh out the experience. There is two-player option at one point and a mode that let you play endlessly, with no ultimate goal in mind. But the final product is much simpler, with just one mode and a number of different levels to play through.
McDonald said, “It took me awhile to realize that I needed to cut away all that other stuff and just focus on the heart and soul of the game, the expressiveness of cropping and shaping trees.” You will come across obstacles that the tree will need to grow around, and giant red spheres will threaten to poison your tree, forcing you to start over. Later levels introduce the concept of pollination, so that you will be using flowers to grow even more trees. The more complicated stages will have you growing massive, wonderfully twisted trees that seem to defy nature.
The structure of Prune isn’t typical of a video game. There is no score to chase, no clock to beat, or indeed any way of rating your performance you either succeed or you fail. Even then, if you come unstuck all too many times in a stage, Prune lets you skip to the next stage this may be a game that boasts coherent challenge the longer you play, but it isn’t a title that wants to saddle you with frustration. If you encounter a stage that, for whatever reason, is beyond you, Prune has no problem with ushering you past onto the next level a level that, supposedly more difficult, might be more to your liking.
The perfect play of Prune’s puzzle, which tasks you with slicing through a plant as it heads towards the light to ensure it stays on the right path joins an elite group of games that truly gets the way people play mobile games.