Brief Write of a Brief Flight – English Country Tune

English Country Tune, an inexplicably-named geometrical, abstract puzzle game. First of all, the soundtrack isn’t English or Country… though it is a tune (albeit not an amazing one). And while this review may have started negatively, my opinion of English Country Tune is anything but. Simply because it is a very good puzzle game and that it’s everything it’s aspiring to be. The puzzles are based on those movement or arranging puzzles where you have to move certain objects to certain locations (some further research lead me to a style of puzzle called Sokoban). This gif explains it all:

Sokoban ani.gif

Well, not quite all. English Country Tune is a lot more complicated than your standard square-based Sokoban puzzle. The first group of levels teach you the basics and transitions you into thinking in 3D. They also introduce you to your player: a single, blue square that flips it way around the board. This flipping is important as it affects the gravitational direction of objects you hit. The game divides itself into groupings of levels, which I’m going to call ‘worlds’, with a less than a dozen levels per world. Each world has a slightly different rule set on top of the basic concepts. I played through three worlds. The ‘larva’ world has you placing balls within the final squares. The ‘whale’ world needs you to push boxes off the edge of the level. Both different enough to be interesting, but similar enough for you to transition effortlessly from one to the other.

Overall, the game has the feel of an end of degree, final project except for one difference. The gameplay and level design is actually well-refined with a lot of thought and time going into each level. The harder puzzles have only one solution with only an undo button and reset button to help you through (or help you backtrack). The graphics are rudimentary and there is no initial instruction in the menu screen. It took me a while to work out how to access the puzzles. And while the graphics are basic, they are perfect for this game.

English Country Tune is currently available on Steam and their website for $4.99 and the iTunes store for $2.99.

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