by Chris Priestman
reviewed on X360
The game is very simple in its design – there are two types of variation in the stages apart from the scenery and the general layout. Firstly there are blocks that can be picked up and worn as a backpack; placing these down again causes them to perform their designated action. These blocks come in differing personalities that dictate this action – some can fly up and down, others extend to make a bridge and another type acts as a trapdoor. With each progression other types are added to the mix to make things more difficult.
The other major difference between stages is the obstacles you will have to navigate around. Once again more are added to the mix the further you get into the game. The simple examples include a red carpet that allows you to travel to the other sides of a block (gravity is not an issue here), a creature that blocks your path no matter what side of a block you are on, and apples that block your path but can be eaten by a pig if you can force him across its path. The game combines all of these variations together and more very well and it makes for some interesting and fairly challenging stages throughout its entirety. The game’s strength lies in having to use both characters and utilizing the different creatures to traverse the various obstructions. Friendship is indeed the name of the game.
Altogether Ilomilo offers 36 stages spread across four chapters that each carry their own style ranging from a scribble world to an underwater environment. There are also some tutorial stages in which you are introduced to one of the game’s more hilarious characters, Sebastian. He rides a ladybug and visits you when you stand on one of his homes. Resembling the toddler version of Napoleon complete with a faux masculine persona, Sebastian explains the various in-game features and their functions as well as parting with his own little story as often as possible. This game really does have the personality of a full-scale adventure game that risks losing the focus on its puzzle elements – indeed this is not a game of great longevity.
Although the game itself is fairly short, it is expanded by the collectibles in each level that any self-confessed completionist will not be able to ignore. The majority of stages will come with an extra challenge in finding photographs and vinyl records, which understandably unlock songs and pictures that can be viewed from the gallery. Spread across the many blocks that make up the stages are tiny memory shards that are to be collected and stored to restore a fragment of a larger memory. Collect enough to fill the memory gauge four times in a chapter and you have restored the whole memory.
These items themselves do not add anything to the gameplay but are worth collecting to simply solve the puzzle that prevents them from being easy to collect – they are at least little rewards for your efforts. Worth collecting though are the three little creatures called Safkas on each level that give you access to three bonus stages if you have collected all of them in a chapter. This extends the game’s length to a total of 48 stages, which is still a little on the short side for a puzzle game and is certainly one of the downsides of a game that focuses so much on its presentation.
Give Me More!
Ilomilo provokes the question of whether quality over quantity is a good thing. Its qualities lie in its presentation and the challenge of solving each level is another fortunately. By any means this is not a bad puzzle game, it simply does not offer a huge tally of hours. Once you settle into the types of methods required to solve the puzzles they do not lose their initial challenge but they do become easier to solve once you have the ball rolling. You soon pick up a rhythm with only the occasional puzzle stumping you until you have progressed later in the game, come back and see the solution shouting at you in the face.
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.