Download ‘Epic Zen Garden’ to Experience Apple’s New Graphics API Metal [Free]


Back in June at WWDC 2014, Apple announced a new graphics API called Metal, which allowed a more efficient way for A7 or newer CPUs in iOS devices to render graphics.

Epic Games made their way on the stage at the time to demo Epic Zen Garden, built using Unreal Engine 4 to show off the efficiencies of Apple’s new Metal API. Josh Adams from Epic Games wrote about his experience on the company’s blog back at the time:

Tim Sweeney and I were on-stage to talk about the experience we at Epic Games have had working with Metal, and to show Zen Garden — a beautiful environment built in Unreal Engine 4 to demonstrate the  kinds of vibrant dynamic scenes and enormous vistas made possible by Metal’s order-of-magnitude increases in efficiency.

Epic Zen Garden hit the App Store as promised and is now available for free. If you thought the demo on stage was impressive, wait until you try this out for yourself on your iOS device. On our iPhone 5s, Epic Zen Garden was pretty stunning, in particular the scene with the butterflies by the pond (around 3500 individually animated butterflies):

IMG 2633

The WWDC 2014 demo of Zen Garden can be seen at the 99 minute mark in the video below, which highlights how Metal brings a tenfold increase in rendering efficiency:

Let us know how you like Epic Zen Garden—it’s a pretty phenomenal demo of what the new Metal API can do for graphics.


  • Tom Fenske

    FYI, this only works on A7 or later devices. My iPad Mini (no retina) would install but not run the app.

  • Thanks, updated!

  • Mark Holoubek

    What a sign of how pathetically uninformed and whiny people are. The app currently rates only about 2 stars, entirely because of a plethora of one star reviews who complain that it’s not working, when of course it’s only not working because of their hardware. Apple’s next big innovation will be to block these idiots from leaving unfair and unwarranted reviews.

  • JfromC

    Yar, no worky on iPhone5. Launches Unreal Engine splash screen then back to home screen. Will look at it on my iPhone6P tomorrow though.

  • Just like you said… OMG.. people don’t read… it’s so sad. It’s written clearly that this app required iPhone 5s+.

  • Anon

    Not really surprised. They are iPhone users after all, who typically aren’t tech savvy and don’t read the requirements. Many of which don’t know the difference between a 5 and a 5S.

  • hub2

    Do the only thing you can do: Every 1-start review that specifically mentions trying on an unsupported iPhone, click “No” next to “Was this review helpful”

    I left those that don’t mention a model, since it *is* possible it’s crashing even on supported phones.

    Note that there’s a slightly inconsistent compatibility note in the app details in iTunes. It lists all the compatible models but then at the end says “This app is optimized for iPhone 5”. It probably means iPhone 5 screensize, but still…

  • hub2

    Admittedly, the app developer should’ve made it exit more gracefully on unsupported devices. An error message, something, anything other than crash-to-Springboard.

  • Actually I think this note was just added recently. I didn’t see this warning when I first installed the app. Regardless, I imagine the developers could have popped up a friendly message to tell users that their device isn’t support rather than just crashing.