- Developer: Adglobe
- Publisher: Binary Haze Interactive
- Release Date: 21/6/2021
- Price :£21.99 / $24.99
- Review code provided by Binary Haze Interactive
Introducing: ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights Review
It feels as though you can’t have any game with difficulty these days without it being called a Souls-like game. ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights has certainly been called this, but prior to playing the game I had no idea why. I tend to go into my reviews as blind as possible. So, all I knew was that it was essentially a Metroidvania with some difficulty to it. Being a huge fan of Metroidvania styled games, I jumped at the chance to give ENDER LILIES a shot and was by no means disappointed. So, pick your spirits and time your dodging as we review ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights.
A World Surrounded in Blight
The story sees you play as the last person, and apparent daughter of the White Priestess, within a world consumed by the Blight. She is awakened by the spirit of the last ancient knight in an attempt to save her from being consumed by the Blight herself. As the daughter of the White Priestess, you travel through a dark, gothic fantasy world where you will free trapped spirits of the Blight and attempt to finish purifying the Blight and saving the kingdom. Though the main character does not remember this all at first, as she has stereotypical protagonist amnesia syndrome.
While I loved the set-up for the story, it could have been told a little clearer. As you go from just looking at the kingdom covered in Blight to purifying trapped souls without much explanation as to why. Though ENDER LILIES does not need to shine through on its story as the game play itself is the main draw for fans of the genre.
Take My Sword
The primary game play is that of an action 2D platformer. While exploring various areas you will find yourself dodging enemy attacks and using spirits that you have freed as your own weapons. ENDER LILIES does share a lot of the elements of other games within the Metroidvania styled games.
Purifying mini-boss enemies will yield you new spirits to equip at rest areas. These will give you different attacks, such as heavy greatsword swings, magic projectiles, fast sword swinging, and many others. Some of these spirits were really out there, such as a wolf spirit that constantly charges through enemies and a bird spirit that shoots spread homing shots towards enemies on screen.
Alongside spirits you have a prayer power that will heal you upon use. There are also a series of relics that can be found and mixed and matched to your own play style. I personally found that the relics that provided additional prayer usages were better than additional damage or more health. That being said, it made the game harder in the mid-game due to a lower amount of health.
Purify the Story
Upon defeating and purifying certain enemies you will get a series of flashbacks from the spirit you freed. Usually, they are glimpses of the world prior to the Blight and the pain at which the Blighted feel from failing their duties. Some of these flashbacks even show parts of the main character’s life with these people. Reminding her of a world she had forgotten. This was a charming way to tell the story of the game outside of the other method they used.
So, can we talk about games using journal styled info pages to shape a world? This is the other way in which ENDER LILIES tells its story. While this can be a useful world building mechanic, it tends to get overused, especially in the 2D action platformer genre. Yeah, I get that not everything can be shared through dialogue, but when the majority of your world building is purely this, it can just be hard for the player. Plus, I found the text size during my portable play time to be a tad small at times.
Where Am I Going?
This review for ENDER LILIES was a tad bit harder for me for various reasons. Mainly the lack of actual direction within this game baffles me. For a game that clearly feels like a love letter for Metroidvania fans, it doesn’t take a lot of story building from them.
While there are plenty of these games that would rather you explore the world at length, most still give you an idea of where you want to go. I encountered one single instance where I hit a barrier and ENDER LILIES actually told me what boss I needed to kill to progress past it. Not like I knew where to actually find that boss as he wasn’t the boss for the area itself. I am not saying that ENDER LILIES needs to hold the player’s hand. I think if the game was like “go here, now go here” it would have harmed the game. But, outside of the journal entries mentioning some boss names, there is not too much direction going on here.
Gothic Architecture and Piano Music
All of that being said, exploring the world of ENDER LILIES was really enjoyable. I love dark world themed games. And the background and various areas in the game showcased the Blight in a way the world building text couldn’t. Seeing the castle in shambles, buildings just in a state of decay that seemed erie added to the overall mood of the game.
ENDER LILIES has a phenomenal soundtrack. Ever since I played this game, I have been listening to it every day. The primary soundtrack is a set of sorrowful sounding piano music. Even during a boss fight, the music reminds you of the somber tones of the game. Often you are fighting someone that the main character knew personally, seeing them transformed and suffering. Combine that with the decayed landscape, and you have a rather somber tale of loss and loneliness.
Let’s Talk Souls-like
ENDER LILIES certainly is a difficult game. I want to stress that I would not suggest a beginner to these types of games play this actually. It requires a lot of patience, precision dodging, and all of the RNG luck you can muster. The bosses are by far the biggest challenge within the game, but not the only veteran design choice made for the game.
There are several rooms and unlockables that require pixel perfect jumping and traversal ability combination to get. Also, I had particular difficulty in this one large room that had a series of gauntlet styled fights. For a game that relies heavily on perfectly timed dodges, it certainly would be nice to have the room to perform them. Looking at the gauntlet room with 3 giant shield guys in it and no way to dodge and not get smacked…
It just sometimes felt like the game could be challenging due to weird design choices over intentionally designed challenges.. Like you get a grappling hook traversal ability, but I often found myself being hooked to lower ones over the one I wanted because it was closer.
Our Final Journey
Overall, I greatly enjoyed ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights. Despite the challenge it was clearly a love letter for fans of Metroidvanias and it shows the passion the team put into it. The story could have been a little more fleshed out, but there are three endings to find. The combat was pretty fast-paced and kept me hyper focused on each fight so as to not take damage. And during this very writing I am still listening to the soundtrack for this game. I cannot recommend this game for veteran players to the genre enough.
- Interesting setting
- Stunning soundtrack
- Fast-paced combat
- Little to no guidance in the game for what you should do and where you should go.
- Not really suited for beginners
- Could use a bit more polish