ENDER LILIES Quietus of the Knights Review


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Like most people, I love Metroidvania games. They are challenging, satisfying, and in the case of Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights, soothing in an unorthodox way. You can run, dodge, jump (and eventually double jump), and use your abilities to defeat many enemies that have their own unique abilities.

axville-WcrqKjgMPfI-unsplash.jpgLike most people, I love Metroidvania games. They are challenging, satisfying, and in the case of Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights, soothing in an unorthodox way. You can run, dodge, jump (and eventually double jump), and use your abilities to defeat many enemies that have their own unique abilities.

You know, all of that good stuff.

At first glance, Ender Lilies seems like just another breed of Metroidvania, nothing special. But, parts of the game make Ender Lilies stand above the rest: the story, tone, and background music brought to you by Mili. Yes, the same Mili responsible for the Goblin Slayer anime opening "Rightfully." The beautiful music accompanies the atmosphere of the game's surrounding greatly.

Story
You play as Lily, a petit, young priestess who awakens in a mysterious dungeon without her memories. She eventually finds out that her homeland, Land's End, a once beautiful-scenery-filled land, has now become an apocalyptic place with no one alive to be seen.

Everyone but her has turned into a zombie-like creature called the Blighted, the end result of the Blight rot and the perpetual Rain of Death that has mercilessly ravaged the land. As a normal-looking little lady who lost her memories, she has no chance of surviving alone.

Thankfully, an incorporeal spirit called Umbral Knight is willing to lend his power to protect Lily. With his help and the other spirits she meets, Lily decides to move forward and discover just what she can do to overcome the darkness and regain her memories.

Looking at the story description, you can say that it is not exactly groundbreaking. But even then, Ender Lilies can still take you to a delightful train ride full of 'feels' (insert feels meme here).

Err--anyway, if a dark or gloomy game is your cup of tea, then you're in the right place.

Gameplay
For a 2D game, Ender Lilies has sleek animation. You can feel the smooth transitions between attacks, moves, and jumping animation that render the experience visually enjoyable. Every time Lily summons her spirit, it's hard not to appreciate the simple yet satisfying movement of the Umbral Knight's combos.

If you aren't a fan of overly complex gameplay, don't worry. Ender Lilies only requires minimum effort from the player to grasp the mechanic of the game. Simplicity is one of the game's core strengths. Furthermore, there are small pieces of tutorials along the way that will tell you tidbits of info that otherwise would take longer to figure out yourself, e.g., the existence of jumping attacks.

That said, just like any other game, the enemies will get tougher, and you need to pull out your skills at the right time.

Battle
Yes, the game is simple but still rather hard to master.

As you progress, you'll get more spirits in your arsenal as rewards for defeating the bosses, i.e., Blighted whose minds do not fate, unlike normal Blighted. Once Lily gives them the deserved purification so that their souls can find peace.

You need to make use of them wisely.

When exploring, you can equip up to three spirits at a time as a set. Additionally, you can switch between two different sets of spirits midway. This means that you can have six spirits at a time (3x2)--though you can only modify the set itself at savepoints. Sometimes, you'll need to use multiple skills simultaneously to effectively and efficiently defeat an enemy.

Exploration
Exploring this game can be a pleasant experience but still frustrating at times. You can find secret rooms which may be filled with tougher enemies, as well as fragments, relics, or items.

The issue with this is that you often need specific abilities first before accessing a secret area. For instance, to travel through water, you need the spirit that can grant you the power to dive. At that point, you have to go back later.

Thankfully, The game's map tells us if there are any unpicked treasures or unexplored paths in an area, making exploration less of a pain.

To make your journey even easier, you can fast travel between respites by using the service of Bale the coachman, a Blight who has turned into a horse-like creature that has succumbed to madness. This helps immensely given that some areas have branching paths and you often need to go back to explore them all, not to mention the left-behind treasures.

Souls-Like...ish...
Steam users tag Ender Lilies as souls-like, and it's for a reason. The game takes a decent amount of souls-like genre elements into the fray. Enemies respawn when Lily interacts with savepoints and travels fast. That said, the game isn't fully souls-like as there are no other fundamental mechanics like corpse looting and soul-gathering.

As is the norm with Metroidvania and souls-like games, the game can feel difficult right from the start. You can't just blindly rush forward to even the most basic enemy without a plan. First, you have to study and understand how to counter them to conveniently get through. For instance, dodge to get behind the shielded warrior, or don't forget to crouch when facing the sluggish creature that lunges at you or the archer.

As for Lily herself, there are multiple ways for her to get stronger. The obvious ones would be to gather EXP from enemies as well as collect spirits. Otherwise, you can also use the filthy residue of a purified Blighted to enhance your skills at respites. For example, increasing the damage of a spirit's attack or decreasing a skill's cooldown time.

Final Verdict: 4.5 out of 5
As with any subjective writing, reviews can be so biased, including this one. You could argue that I gave Ender Lilies a high score because I'm a sucker for Metroidvania. But, even compared against other Metroidvania games, I'd say that Ender Lilies is still better than most of them. The story, the music, the gameplay--there's a lot to love!

Don't believe me? Just try it out--but the game is not free. If you are a fan of Metroidvania games in general, though, there's no reason not to give Ender Lilies a try!

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