Prune app may take you to a state of Zen

First impressions 

You know those people who do yoga on a regular basis; walking everywhere with a calm look on their faces and a rolled up mat hanging from their shoulder?

Yeah, that’s not me. I am one of the least relaxed folks you’ll ever meet – always madly rushing from one thing to the next, nearly running over said yoga practitioners with my big, gas-guzzling SUV. 

Have I wanted to be more serene? At times, yes. It would be nice to sit and smell the roses and let a feeling of happiness and contentment wash over me. I did try hot yoga once. I had never tried it before; was woefully out of shape; and booked a 75-minute class where all we seemed to do was push our bodies past their capacity for movement in an environment usually reserved for getting information out of spies.

Every time I thought I sensed a bit of cool air in the room, our calm, relaxed, dewy yoga instructor would reach for that button and send another cloud of steam into the atmosphere. 

It was difficult to look for my third eye after nearly passing out twice. My two eyes were barely functioning, so surely I should focus on those first before I went searching for their mystical sibling? I lunged for the door at the end of the session, and embraced the 90-degree temperatures outside, which felt like a meat locker in comparison. I never went back. 

So, in my quest for other ways to relax, I came upon the Prune app. It supposedly provides a Zen experience for the user, by allowing them to shape a cyber-tree so it can grow and reach the sun. 

I am an absolutely rubbish gardener, but if I wasn’t going to be killing a plant in real life, I could certainly give this a go. The US$3.99 price seemed a bit steep, but hey – could I really put a price on reaching a calm existence? Now, where the heck did I put my wallet? 

How it works 

To say that very little tutorial comes with this app is an understatement. You open the app, and the kind of music that often accompanies a massage starts playing. You’ll probably feel the stress wash away from the very beginning. 

Once it goes through its opening stuff, it takes you to a very clean, minimalistic screen, where a disembodied hand invites you to swipe up from the “ground.” As you do, a trunk will appear, followed by branches and maybe a flower or two. 

The hand then indicates that you should swipe in some curved manner in order to trim your tree. As you swipe a branch, it drops, and the tree grows. Be careful of swiping with abandon, or you’ll chop the lot off and have to start again. 

When branches reach the “sun,” they flower, and from what I can gather, once the app feels that you have enough flowers, it will allow you to move on to the next level. 

As you go through the levels, more objects or obstacles will appear that you need to prune your tree around in order to reach the light. You’ll also see some winds blowing, which will send your tree growing in their direction, so bear that in mind as you trim. 

The music that accompanies your progress is very spa-like, which hopefully will balance your frustration at the lack of instruction this app gives you. 

When I tried it 

Although I grasped the basics of how Prune works, I must admit that I was surprised to find that it had no tutorial or hints to assist when the going got a little tougher. How did it decide how many flowers were enough to warrant a successfully completed level?

There were times that I looked at my tree and I couldn’t figure out what else I could possibly trim in order to get more foliage. In fact, one of my most calming moments was when, after several attempts, I simply swiped my finger horizontally across the trunk and with great satisfaction, watched the whole thing drop.

Maybe this app is linked to an FBI database, pinpointing people around the world with psychotic tendencies. 

I made it through quite a few levels before really getting stumped. (Get it? “Stumped”? Guffaw … ) The wind was blowing, my tree was bending, it appeared to be nighttime, and I apparently couldn’t get enough flowers no matter what I tried. 

What did I do? I stopped what I was doing; closed my eyes; took in a deep breath, held it, released, and … closed the app so I could go and play Candy Crush Soda Saga. If I was going to get annoyed, I might as well really enjoy it. 

Final thoughts 

This is a beautifully designed app and it is interesting to try, but the price seems a little steep for me considering what you get for the money. Maybe I didn’t make it to the level where the robots kick in, or perhaps I’m just not the user the Prune designers had in mind when they created it. I can appreciate the beauty of Prune, but I guess I’m not patient enough to play it. Big surprise. 


  • Cost: $3.99
Seller: Joel McDonald

  • Devices: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

  • Rating: E for Everyone 


Beautiful design. Calming music. 


Expensive for what you get. Little instruction. 


A brief demonstration on where to swipe to avoid the obstacle.


The Prune app is beautifully and simply designed.


Once you’ve got enough flowers, you’ll move to the next level.


Sometimes you have to prune carefully to get your tree to the light.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now