We don’t usually like the idea of relying phone games to relax, to soothe our nerves, or battle anxiety, but sometimes there’s a special game that lulls us into a flow of calm, effortless meditation. After a few minutes with this kind of game we can actually feel the stress leave our bodies.
ELOH is one of those games.
ELOH: A Mobile Oasis
ELOH is a puzzle game with a simple idea: use music to help solve the problem. Listen closely, test out different melodies and combinations, and unlock the next challenge.
Upon downloading and starting ELOH the player is met with an introduction that is deliberately paced and designed to usher us into a uniquely tranquil auditory experience.
The levels are curated to let the player take the lead, only starting when you say so, and to teach us new rules without stressing us out. There is no timer, no punishment system, only musical encouragement to keep trying different arrangements until you find the solution and can move onto increasingly complex (and increasingly beautiful) levels.
The wrong arrangements don’t even punish you with an unpleasant sound. In fact, you might find yourself forgetting to solve the puzzle so that you can play with the music or to just sit and enjoy the quiet ambient music that breathes calmly in the background.
My one complaint: I couldn’t find a way to save my accidental creations!
There were times I couldn’t find the right combination right away and would become absolutely stuck! Not because the level was too hard (this game expertly walks the tightrope of “Flow”, never too hard or too easy), but because I couldn’t bear to lose the song I accidentally created. I wished I could record loops of the harmonies this game was capable of creating so I could listen to them on repeat later!
Eventually, I had to tear myself away from my mesmerizing mistakes and get back to solving the puzzle. The solution always sounded gorgeous as well, though.
Why We Need ELOH:
ELOH, developed by jcstranger, Salon Alpin, and Broken Rules (with phenomenal sound design by Andrew ‘SCNTFC‘ Rohrmann), is not like other puzzle games. You don’t need to sit there, tension rising, as you try to beat the clock or number of attempts left remaining. You don’t groan and sigh with frustration only to feel a momentary relief after solving it – before your shuffled along to another stubborn problem.
And it isn’t one of those puzzle games that flashes at you, giving unnecessary points and rewards so that it can keep your attention for one more lucrative minute.
ELOH is a genuine game that maximizes our relaxation and minimizes any negative motivation. We never feel rushed to find the solution, instead we are rewarded by our curiosity and patience to try all the harmonious possibilities.
This gentle and punish-less game is ideal for those who might need an oasis away from anxiety or stress.
Games like ELOH have even more to offer than we might expect. Research from the Journal of Communication, in the article “Media Entertainment and Well-Being”, argues that games that elicit feelings of fun and calm enjoyment (like ELOH) can be considered “Hedonic Media”. According to this research, doses of Hedonic Media, at the right times, helps us recover from stress, strain, anxiety and replenish our overall psychological well-being.
Another important benefit from ELOH is its potential use for Music Therapy. It isn’t surprising that research has shown that focusing on calming music can diminish anxiety, relieve bodily tension, and even decrease sensations of pain.
Video games cannot replace professional help, but if we choose and play them mindfully they can be a tool we add to our toolbox for emotional well-being.
If we are prone to anxiety or panic attacks, ELOH might be a very helpful tool for us. It’s easily and quickly accessible from our phones and delivers an instantaneously pressure-free and calming environment for the player (especially if you happen to have headphones handy). ELOH’s accessibility, gorgeous design, and stress-free gameplay make it ideal for relaxation and recovery.
You Might Need ELOH If:
- You need a quickly accessible oasis away from anxious or stressful thoughts.
- You would like to practice mindfulness with music.
- You’re interested in the benefits of Music Therapy.
- Or if you simply want a gorgeous and truly relaxing puzzle game that actually encourages mistakes!
Thank you for reading!
Using Media Psychology, this blog, Screen Therapy, is dedicated to exploring how we can mindfully use the time we already spend with media to strengthen our emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is crucial when facing the everyday stresses and anxieties we all endure (such as the fear of death, how to develop the skills for loving relationships, career anxiety, coping with negative experiences, etc.)
We receive very little education or help processing these challenges, but by strengthening our self-knowledge and emotional intelligence through media mindfulness we can better pursue our well-being.
The Effect of Music on Relaxation of Expectant Mothers During Labor
Suzanne B. Hanser Sharon Cotteral Larson Audree S. O’Connell
Journal of Music Therapy, Volume 20, Issue 2, 1 July 1983, Pages 50–58, https://doi.org/10.1093/jmt/20.2.50
Media Entertainment and Well-Being—Linking Hedonic and Eudaimonic Entertainment Experience to Media-Induced Recovery and Vitality
Diana Rieger Leonard Reinecke Lena Frischlich Gary Bente
Journal of Communication, Volume 64, Issue 3, 1 June 2014, Pages 456–478, https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12097