Ilomilo XBLA Review
Moments after starting the game I got that warm fuzzy feeling usually inspired by kittens or puppies. This game is incredibly cute, but that feature in itself is very deceptive because as you progress through this sweet puzzler it will begin to get more difficult. I guess I should get to the back-story before I discuss the mechanics, so I shall. Ilomilo is about two friends, Ilo and Milo, who meet up to hang out, drink tea, and eat biscuits; but something mysterious is happening and every day the roads seem to have been rearranged in a puzzling manner, or they have bad memories (suggests the narrator). I however think it is in part due to the insane amounts of LSD that Ilo and Milo must consume, because the world they live in is bright and colorful with strange shapes, objects and creatures floating/flying about, and their world seems to have no concept of gravity.
The objective, if unclear, is to reunite the two BFFs by traversing the uniquely crafted levels. As you navigate the paths, switching between Ilo and Milo depending on the obstacles, you’ll encounter a number of helping objects, creatures and signs. Arrows on the ground will let you walk on a different orientation to how you started, picking up block-creatures and placing them strategically to bridge gaps, using spring boards to jump across gaps, falling through trap doors, and riding/feeding block-animals are just a few ways in which you will traverse the levels to reunite Ilo and Milo.
Along the way are a few collectibles in the form of photos and records that unlock gallery items (that I have yet to look at) and little fellows called Safkas. There are 3 Safkas in each level and by getting them you’ll unlock up to 3 bonus levels per world that are much more difficult than the levels required for progression. The game isn’t very long only consisting of 4 chapters, with 9 levels and 3 bonus levels each, nor is the game all that difficult outside of the bonus levels. There doesn’t appear to be much reason for replay except to collect missing Safkas and beat the bonus levels. Since I haven’t beaten it 100% yet I can’t say for certain if that unlocks a different mode or difficulty, so if necessary I will update this post when I 100% the game.
It might be worth noting that Ilomilo can be played cooperatively on local console so if you want to you and a friend or family member can sit and solve the puzzles together. Though with how much changing back and forth there is I’m not sure how well it works with more than one person; if it’s split-screen then the point is moot so long as you pay attention to each-others’ movements.
While it is an enjoyable little puzzle game with wonderful music and an overall charm that will put a smile on your face, until you get stumped and frown in bewilderment, I’m not sure it was really worth 800MS Points ($10) due to a lack of content. The only negative thing I have to say about Ilomilo, in addition to being too short, is that the game froze 8 times during my quick run-through into chapter 4. I’ll probably come back to Ilomilo later to get the remaining Safkas, finish the bonus levels and maybe play the DLC.
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