Indie Jeff's Weekly Pick: English Country Tune

Prolific indie game designer Stephen Lavelle recently released his first commercial title in PC, Mac, iPhone, and iPad flavors--and it's pretty darned brilliant. Called English Country Tune and developed under Lavelle's Increpare Games banner, it's an abstract 3D puzzle game that begins by tasking the player to figure out how to nudge spherical "larvae" into transparent cubes. But that's just the beginning.


The game is broken up into seventeen different worlds, each of which contains a good number of individual levels for the player to solve. The free demo for PC and Mac includes two such worlds that include a handful of puzzles to try. Unlike a lot of other puzzle game demos, the hand-holding ceases fairly quickly. Though early hints are offered when new things are introduced, they key the player in without spelling out solutions. It's not long before English Country Tune starts asking you to utilize what you've learned in different ways, the result of which is that even the "tutorial" puzzles included in the free demo pack a good punch, and are rewarding to solve.

As you can tell from the trailer below, however, there are plenty of new gameplay mechanics that are introduced later in the game, along with progressively more difficult level layouts. Even the initial process of knocking a single larva around quickly gives way to some intriguing caveats. For example, a larva's current gravitational properties will depend on the direction and manner in which it is moved. Perspective plays a big part in being able to successfully solve each challenge. It's refreshing, fun, and a must-play for those who fancy themselves puzzle game experts.

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Lavelle is no stranger to making innovative indies. If you haven't explored some of his other titles (which are free), I'd highly recommend doing so. Lavelle has even collaborated with other great indies like Terry Cavanagh (VVVVVV, At A Distance), if you need any more incentive.

English Country Tune is available for purchase on PC and Mac from its official website (alongside a free demo) for $9.99, and is also available on iTunes for iPhone and iPad for $4.99.

English Country Tune is also a Main Competition submission for the 2012 Independent Games Festival.