Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ilomilo (XBLA)

Play Time: 2 hours

What Happened:
I've been so slow to post about this game! I think I've been putting it off since it's sort of hard to explain in writing. Like most people, I saw the trailers for this game awhile ago and was totally charmed... but then I forgot about it for awhile... Haha. Someone reminded me about it recently, so I checked it out last week.

Game breakdown: This is a puzzle game where you switch between two characters and the goal is to get them to each other. You primarily solve puzzles by manipulating blocks, which you can pick up one at a time. As you progress you encounter more types of blocks - the primary sort are just solid, and used for building bridges for either the character you're controlling, or the second character (so that when you switch back to him, he will have a bridge). Other types of blocks are ones which extend horizontally or vertically, blocks which fly, and blocks which have a vent in them which you fall through, causing gravity to reverse. Gravity is constantly shifting in the game... which feels hard to explain so here's a trailer :)

I played for a good two hours, which is a lot for me! I progressed to the third section of levels (I didn't complete all of the individual puzzles though - just the minimum required to get me to the next set). At this point, the increasingly difficult puzzles coupled with the monotonously cheerful music started to drive me crazy, so I put it down and haven't picked it up since.

What I Liked:

Concept. Love it! This is a really neat idea for a puzzle game!

Ease of use. As complex as the puzzles are to solve, it's very very easy to pick up and play this game in terms of the control scheme. Basically you have 2 buttons - switch characters and pick up & drop boxes.

Visuals. To a point! Overall, I totally love the style of this game - everything is playful and alive (even the blocks move when you step on them). It oozes charm. I was a little disappointed as a moved from world to world however, that there wasn't a little more variety -- but then maybe my main complaint here has more to do with the music? See below. The animations were really wonderful as well - they fit the world very nicely, and it was cool to see such simplified characters pulled off so well.

Limited Collectibles. I liked that there were always 3 little characters hidden in each level which you could try and collect. I particularly enjoyed the sound they made when you found them.

Sound design. Overall, I really enjoyed the sound effects. They were lively and cute and fit well with the world.

What I Didn't Like:

Music. At first I thought it was cute, but the more I played, the more it started to grate on my nerves. I also felt that it made all of the levels feel very similar - even when the puzzles themselves were very different, the music made me feel as though I was having the same experience over and over again.

Small collectibles. I liked the 3 character collectibles, but I didn't care for all of the other junk in the levels. I guess it was intended to sort of entice you in a certain direction, or give completionists something to complete - which maybe works really well for the sort of person that likes solving puzzles for the sake of solving puzzles (not me) ;)

How Do I Feel About Continuing?:

Honestly, I don't think it's going to happen. As I said in regards to Professor Layton, I don't really enjoy solving puzzles just for the sake of solving puzzles. It was good for a 2 hour experience, but that's all.

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