Review: English Country Tune

I have never really been a fan of obscure puzzle solving games, mainly because it always felt like there was too much time spent on design choices and too little on making any of the puzzles actually interesting.  This happens to be exactly the case with English Country Tune, because most of the game simply feels like it was designed by a random word generator and less by people who thought that a real human would ever play it.

The player controls an all but two dimensional square that moves by flipping around the environment and pushing various objects into predetermined areas.  The objects range from balls that continue moving until they hit something, depending on how they are hit, to squares that are moved by some kind of random field that they seemingly emit.  In concept the game may even seem simple enough, like some random PS1 game that was quickly glossed over through the annals of time, but becomes annoying complex and uninteresting the moment that it tries to move all of the puzzling into the 3rd dimension.

The problems start to stem from the fact that almost none of the game mechanics are ever that well defined so when a level becomes confusing and takes a long time to be beaten it seems to be less about it being challenging and more that the game never really explained anything at all.  The logic of how gravity and other tools work always seems to be more about brute forcing a solution out and learning from that than anything.  Sadly once some of the basic functions are ironed out, after repeatedly trying the same levels over and over to arrive at an answer, the game seems to simply become uninteresting.

Nothing seems to really fit together either; levels seem to be a retro throwback to when polygons first became a thing, the level selection almost seems like it is selecting an item on a chemical chain of some kind, and the naming convention is pretty much so random it might as well be recorded as the worst day ever for Google Translate.  The lack of cohesion feels like it slips through the moment that the levels start even being a little challenging and just make this feel like another forgettable puzzle game.

For five dollars the game is certainly something that exists on Steam.  If there is someone out there that simply needs to solve every riddle and puzzle out there like some kind of horror movie villain, this one isn’t going to set them back that much money at all.  For everyone else who might be looking for something that resembles entertainment than simply looking at a not that interesting puzzle for hours on end, there are pretty much any other game that has ever been made that they could choose from besides picking this one up.  Even for those who need to be constantly solving things to feel smart, I would recommend waiting for the next Steam sale and working on crosswords or something else until then.

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