by Chris Priestman
reviewed on X360
Fancy A Pot Of Apple Tea?
Move over Kirby there is a new blob that is far cuter than you; in fact there are two. Ilo and Milo are their names and they are the best of friends. They are also the stars of the new Arcade title Ilomilo that combines a cutesy presentation with brain-aching puzzles.
The main idea is that you need to unite Ilo and Milo across a number of stages so they can play in the park and have a cup of apple tea accompanied by maple leaf flavoured biscuits. How pleasant I hear you say. Admittedly this is a distant idealist world, but it is just so inviting that you cannot help but gorge in its naïve tale of friendship and those pleasantly old-fashioned traditions.
I Just Want To Squeeze You!
Ilomilo is a game that is most prominent in its presentation. You are going to witness a gloriously beautiful 3D world that is full of tiny little creatures that all have their unique sounds and attributes. This is a game in which personality is an understatement. We all know what cute is, and we also know that there is a limit to cute before it becomes annoying. But Ilomilo manages to hit the same level of cuteness as a young kitten trying to drift to sleep with a case of the hiccups. Everything is alive in this world and some of the creativity gone into the creatures and background really extends your imagination. You will think you have entered a cuddly toyshop.
The story that accompanies the game revolves around the dilemma that the two characters find themselves in each waking day. Ilo and Milo play with each other everyday and then separate to their individual homes at night. When they wake up though, the world outside their windows has shifted and it is your job to help them find each other again so they can carry on playing. The story is told in a way that parallels your grandfather reciting a Victorian children’s book to you (with pictures!) – it is innocent and just lovely.
Bringing the world to life further is the game’s soundtrack that is beyond delightful and really brings a charm of its own to the game. In fact the sound design in general is brilliant and really makes you feel like a toddler again. The best way of describing it is to imagine the sounds produced by a talented band of school kids with triangles, trombones, a drum kit and a piano. Collecting the in-game collectibles also strikes up two creatures to pop out of the side of the screen and perform a quick celebratory tune. Usually I would be irritated by these types of gimmicks, but this is simply not a possible reaction to Ilomilo’s magical presentation.
The game itself is a simple puzzle game, but it does contain a slight variation within the parameters of this repetitive genre. The titular characters start at different positions in each level, and by controlling both of them separately you must reunite them to complete it. Each level is filled with 1x1 cubes that make up paths and various structures across which you navigate Ilo and Milo. Just to slap an extra layer of cuteness onto the game, upon meeting up once again the two characters do a little happy dance to end the level.
Presentation gives the game a wonderful personality and the puzzles are quite challenging in the majority.
Lacking in length and misses a great co-op opportunity.