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  1. #1

    [Pretty much everything] Ender Lilies: Quietus Of The Knight

    I might not be the biggest fan of search-action games, but surely the genre is very popular (and a bit over-inflated). After Lost Ruins, here come Ender Lilies, right now available for PC, Switch, X Box series, and later for PS4 and PS5.

    There's nothing much to discuss about the game's structure, you go around self-contained rooms in search for the next boss and/or ability to traverse a previously impassable obstacle; the map is dotted by checkpoints at which you respawn after death with no loss of collected items or character experience (yep, there are levels), but enemies are reborn anew; fast-travel between checkpoints is unlocked early in the game, and the map is kind enough to change room colours if you've collected all hidden items there, and even give you a general idea where an exit might be.

    Playing as an (apparently) mute girl named Lily, you wake in a dilapidated crypt with a knight offering his protection. The knight is actually a spirit, and he's immediately summoned at the press of the attack button. It's worth noting that only Lily herself is the hitbox, not the knight, and when you get slower weapons, you can actually move Lily around while the attack animation is still going. This is not a huge mechanic in the game, but it does add a tiny layer of tactic when attacking. Secondary attacks are earned by defeating this game's version of mid-level bosses, and can only be equipped, like other items, at checkpoints. There you can also upgrade primary and secondary attacks with dedicated items; these aren't technically a limited resource, you can find them by smashing pots and crates, but they are randomised drops and they are only found in large quantities in one-use secret areas. Secondary attacks can only be used a certain number of times, and there are two way to recharge them: rest at a checkpoint or find a rare red flower.

    Movement is fluid and spot on, with all attacks having a good heft, and it's nice to hit things. The jump is somewhat limited in reach and height, but Lily can grab onto ledges with a very fluid motion; dodge is instant, with plenty of i-frames, and combat is basically centered around dodging attacks and striking back. Character levels do add some damage to the knight's sword but you cannot out-DPS enemies, even those you fought 20 levels before. The game is very generous with permament health upgrades, and Lily can heal by praying, an action that leaves her immobile for a couple of seconds, and is available only three times without resting at a checkpoint. Prayer counters can be replenished by cutting white flower, but just like red flowers for secondary attacks, those are rare.

    So far Ender Lilies plays well with no real flaws to speak of, its strong point being movement and combat. An other strong point are the gorgeous graphics, from Lily's sprite to the various locations she will explore. Equal care went into enemies and backgrounds, and the style reminds me of some of Dark Soul's concept art, but this has its own distinct flavour, although it abuses the "dark body, red eyes" approach a bit...there's nothing wrong with it, and everything fits well together.
    Music ranges from simple ambient sounds to some nice tracks that change depending on the location you are. Sound effects do their jobs, but I'd say a lot of them are from royalty-free libraries.

    I don't know how much of the game I have left, but Ender Lilies is a pleasant game to play.

  2. #2
    I meant to do a post some time ago highlighting the game after a few hours, then after reaching the first ending, but now it's time to finally post as I've completed the game and withnessed all three possible endings.

    Ender Lilies starts off rather strong, tapers during the mid-game, but if you persists through it, the latter part surpasses the beginning, giving a lot of combat and platform challenges, though if you step in the wrong part of the map you can get mauled pretty bad...and even at max level and with the best protective equipment, some of the final enemies will be able to deplete your health bar in two-three attacks.

    The mid-game is Ender Lilies' weakest point, where combat becomes a bit stale as it seems to boil down to just dodging to the enemy's back, and hack with your standard attack. You do get do mileage from other primary attacks (like the hammer) and some of the ranged secondary attacks, but if you are careful and don't rush ahead, everything feels rather samey and at times easy.
    What this part is really about is expanding your movement abilities, and this is where Ender Lilies shines for its whole duration. You get a double jump fairly early, then

    a ground stomp to break barriers, the ability to swim freely, dash and air dash, a grappling hook, a Speed Booster-like run, wall grabbing, and if you want to complete the game 100% you have to defeat a special enemy to get a Dragon Punch-like attack to jump further up.

    Combining all these abilities is a lot of fun, and the game knows of to expand rooms both horizontally and vertically.

    The latter part of the game is where enemies become a lot more dangerous, and while the basic concepts of combat don't change much, their sheer strenght, placement, and room design, make for very challenging encounters that are never frustrating. Bosses do get a boos in their design as well, and while the beginning and mid-part might not do much with secondary attacks, the third part requires to make the best use of eveything you have to surpass adversities.
    The art and the music in rooms visited during this segment are also incredible, and one particular section of the map has a BGM that sounds out of Metroid Prime. And after that you get an incredibly disturbing BGM that fits perfectly with what you're doing, but damn it's unsettling.
    By the mid-point you also notice how

    everything you are doing is affecting Lily, and I really enjoy that the game doesn't just say something is happening, but also shows it.

    The story is put together piec by piece by the various documents found around the game world and the brief cutscenes you get after defeating mandatory bosses, and while the lack of voiceovers does detract a but from them, the art and the care put in how everythin is worded make up for it.

    You can reach all three endings with one save file, and you can get to the first in about 30-40 hours; it's quite a lot of hours, and what you see is obviously incomplete. To get the second ending

    you need to reach the lowest point of the map and defeat the boss there. The third ending is only achievable by collecting seven special items, creating a special type of equipment, and defeating the two forms of the final boss.

    If you are searching for a good search-action, Ender Lilies is there for you.


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