With so many games out there that focus on shooting, stomping, exploding, punching, kicking, smashing, smorshing, smooshing, fwooshing, fworping, and zapping…

It’s so nice to find a game that has absolutely nothing to do with violence of any sort. Our latest indie pick, Let There Be Life, is one of those rare treats.

This unconventional indie game from developer Backward Pies is a peaceful and relaxing puzzler that provides a welcome break from all the stress-inducing chaos and pew-pew action that many other games thrive on. If you could use a bit of Zen in your family tree, these are the branches you’re looking for.

Let There Be Life is all about the beauty of simplicity. Every level gives you a bare tree to tend. Your goal is to turn these lonely bits of lumber into thriving, leafy ecosystems. You do this by collecting random branches and placing them on your tree, where they’ll take root and add to its overall health and vitality. Once you max out your tree’s life force, you’ll clear the scene and move on to the next level.

Let There Be Light

It’s a simple and creative hook to hang the game’s lightly challenging puzzle elements on. A variety of flowers, plants, and even mushrooms have taken up residence at the base of your tree, and they’re sensitive to light. Flowers need plenty of light to thrive, but the leaves from each branch you place cast shadows that can be detrimental to the plants below. You have to arrange your treescape carefully, because if you create too much shade, the flowers won’t survive and the game will end.

Mushrooms, on the other hand, love the darkness, and they’ll grow bigger as you cover them with more shade. When they get full size, your fungi friends will start to glow, which can give a much-needed boost to any wilting flowers in the vicinity.

The strategy hinges on balancing your branch placement with the layout and light needs of the flora below. All the while your efforts will also build homes for a variety of adorable birds, butterflies, and other wildlife that hang out to keep you company.

As you might expect, it’s all very relaxing, especially given the soothing nature sounds and mellow soundtrack. There’s a pleasant meditative quality to the process of cherry-picking just the right spots to place each branch. Watching everything grow and evolve as you play is equally rewarding, too.

Let There Be Life isn’t packed to the brim with thrills and excitement, but you know what? In this case, that’s good thing. Take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. And check out this cool indie game today!

This article was written by

Nathan Meunier has been slinging words about video games for close to a decade, writing for more than 40+ publications ranging from IGN and Nintendo Power to What They Play and Official Xbox Magazine. Now he makes games, too! You can read more of his freelance writing, check out his books, or scope his other assorted creative projects over at NathanMeunier.com.