Tag Archives: Ender Lilies

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Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & Switch)

Developer(s) – Live Wire & AdGlobe

Publisher(s) – Binary Haze Interactive

Director(s) – Keisuke Okabe

Producer(s) – Junichi Asame

PEGI – 12

 

Released last month to overwhelmingly positive critical acclaim, Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is a Metroidvania title, unlike most others. Combining dark fantasy with Japanese anime, it presents players with challenging gameplay reminiscent of the Dark Souls series and incorporates beautifully twisted mythology that results in a roller coaster of emotion from beginning to end. Some time ago, I had written a first impressions article on this game:

https://scousegamer88.com/2021/02/01/ender-lilies-quietus-of-the-knights-first-impressions/

And I summarized my astonishment at just how good a game the developers seemed to be promising players. After finally finishing this game, I was anything but disappointed.

 

Graphics – 10/10

The game’s visuals make use of 2D sprites and environments similar to many modern-day Metroidvania classics such as the Ori games and Dust: An Elysian Tail. Albeit, Ender Lilies has a much darker atmosphere than either of the aforementioned games combined. Taking place in the sorrowful environments of Land’s End, the world had been ravaged by an evil entity known as the Blight, causing death and destruction throughout the world. Each location across the game is suitably scary and ominous, but at the same time, the game presents players with a feel of simultaneous beauty and melancholy in elements such as the soundtrack and certain other environmental designs. It’s rare that I’ve played a game that has such a stark contrast between eloquence and darkness as Ender Lilies does.

 

Gameplay – 8/10

The game is a 2D Metroidvania with RPG elements. Throughout the game, the player acquires more abilities to advance to otherwise impassable areas, in lieu of Metroidvania tradition, but new abilities in combat can also be learned throughout in the form of defeating both the main bosses and a series of sub-bosses that offer lesser, but strategically valuable abilities that can be used in accordance with either each situation in combat or for the purposes of exploration, and there’s certainly a lot of exploration to be had in this game. Backtracking is an important feature of this game, with players being able to discover many new and even secret areas within the game. But most prominent of all is the level of challenge that it presents players with. It’s not quite on the same level as Blasphemous in this respect, but it’s most definitely not a game for the faint of heart. Oftentimes, I found myself wondering whether or not I was in a more advanced area of the game than what I ought to have been, only to realize that I was completely on course to finishing it at almost all times. 

 

Controls – 10/10

As is needed in a game like this, the controls also pose no problems thankfully. If there had been any issues, it would’ve caused bigger problems than what it would in a game of reasonable difficulty, since Ender Lilies is a lot more demanding than the average Metroidvania. But any slip-ups where this game is concerned will be down to the player. It takes a great deal of skill and experience to advance through this game, but thankfully, the controls will not slow players down. 

 

Lifespan – 7/10

The game can be made to last a total of 22 hours, give or take, which for a Metroidvania is a reasonable amount of time to last. It’s nowhere near on the level as what Hollow Knight can be made to last, but this puts it on par with the average 2D open-world title at least. With any luck, the developers did leave scope for expansion in the form of either a sequel or DLC because this is a series that is most definitely worth continuing after one game, but only time will tell on that one, unfortunately. 

 

Storyline – 8/10

The story of Ender Lilies focuses on a young white priestess named Lily, who after waking up in a derelict church, discovers that the world has been ravaged by entities such as the evil Blighted creatures and the Rain of Death. Aided by numerous incorporeal allies, who are the last remaining remnants of individuals who were affected by the Rain of Death, Lily resolves to put an end to the curse and thus restore Land’s end to its former glory. As I commented in my first impressions article, I noticed similarities early on between this game and Shadow of the Colossus on the thematic level, as the game seemed to perpetuate the same feeling of bittersweetness throughout. Having played through it in its entirety, I stick by my initial assessment. The game takes the player through a whirlwind of emotion that will have them on the edge of their seats as they discover the backstory of each ally acquired throughout the game and ultimately discovering the fates of Lily and Land’s End

 

Originality – 7.5/10

Although the idea of a Metroidvania RPG had been perpetuated before on numerous occasions, the elements that make this game stand out among most other Metroidvanias, as well as other games in general, is in the atmosphere that it presents throughout, as well as it’s beautifully distorted mythology. Eldritch horrors litter Land’s End throughout, the game provides players with a wonderful contrast between beauty and horror, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a video game, making it truly an unforgettable experience that players will savor for a long time. 

 

Happii

Overall, Ender Lilies is most definitely one of the best games I’ve played of 2021; it’s a weird and elegant game that will give players a stern challenge and along with that an immense sense of satisfaction, but at the same time, leave them with a profound sense of wonder after experiencing the story. It’s exactly the game that those in the Momodora series should’ve been.

Score

50.5/60

8/10 (Very Good)

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Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights – First Impressions

Whilst scouting out new developers on Twitter, I came across another indie Metroidvania game in development that caught my eye and decided to get into contact with the team involved about further coverage. Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is a Metroidvania game influenced by a plethora of different titles from what I could deduce at first glance, including Dark Souls, Castlevania, and Shadow of the Colossus. I was captivated by this game after watching the trailer, and even more so after playing merely the first ten minutes. Published by Binary Haze Interactive based in Tokyo, and released on Steam Early Access later last month to an overwhelmingly positive response from players, it shows a great deal of promise in almost every aspect and I’m very much looking forward to playing the full title. Here is a full account of my first impressions of the game. 

 

Graphics

The game is set in a lost kingdom which the player must explore and uncover the mystery of as the game progresses. The kingdom is a desolate abandoned place with a strong sense of melancholy, but at the same time, perpetuating a strong sense of eloquence and beauty. The orchestral, primarily piano-based soundtrack does well to add to that feeling. Even during boss fights, the music sounds very sorrowful in stark contrast to what are some particularly intense combat sequences. Gothic architecture and Japanese landscape are at the center of the design of the in-game world, which gives it a prominent feel of games such as Okami and Blasphemous. 

 

Gameplay

The game is a 2D open-world Metroidvania title heavy on combat, puzzle-solving, and item collecting. There is a massive amount of collectibles to attain throughout the game and even new abilities to learn as well as the facility to find and upgrade weapons. Already I can tell this title has a lot more to offer than many of the other story-driven indie games I’ve played, including Journey, The Swapper, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. When a game is heavy on story, like Ender Lilies is set to be, there’s always a risk of the story taking precedence over the gameplay; but even after having played around twenty minutes of this title, I can already deduce that this won’t be the case.

 

Controls

By proxy, I’ve also found no issues with the controls, even in this stage of development. Combat is incredibly fluent, as what is required in a game like this that has a number of particularly challenging boss fights. It plays out very much like Blasphemous in the respect that enemies and bosses deal an incredible amount of damage and that players have to take to strategizing throughout to stay alive. There is a great deal of skill required from players to progress through this game and the control scheme allows for players to do so without any unnecessary compilations from what I can surmise at this point in development. 

 

 

Lifespan

With so many collectibles, weapons, and secret areas to discover across the game’s open world, the likelihood is that this game can potentially make for an experience that will last 20 hours minimum; maybe even longer. It would depend on what more may be added later on in development to determine exactly how long it can be made to last, but it certainly has the potential to beat out a lot of the competition across the indie scene if it can be made to last a substantial amount of time. There have been many indie Metroidvania games that have come and gone that have amazed me in terms of gameplay but lacked in lifespan such as Dust: An Elysian Tail and Ori & the Blind Forest. But with the promise of so many things to do within Ender Lilies, the prospect of this game lasting a long time are indeed there. 

 

Storyline

The story follows a young girl named Lily, who wakes up to find an unknown guardian specter tasked with protecting her, and who sets out on a journey to recover her own memory, as well as uncovering the past history of this lost kingdom. The reason why this game reminds me of Shadow of the Colossus is because of the direction in which the story seems to be steering towards, involving a series of tragic realizations with a potentially bittersweet outcome. Even at the same points, the spirits of the defeated bosses join Lily at her side as and when the player defeats them; similar to how the spirits of the colossi gather to stand over Wander’s body as he returns to the shrine of worship after he defeats each of them. The game’s story has the potential to make as much of an impact on the player as the gameplay has the potential to satisfy them; to a great extent. 

 

Originality

With a clear oversaturation of Metroidvania titles continuing to seep into the community of indie games development, it had inevitably become harder and harder to make one in the particular title stand out among so many others. But with Ender Lilies’ approach to gameplay, conceptual design, and story arc, it does have the potential to stand out among most others. There is a strong similarity between this game and Koji Igarashi’s Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, but whether or not Ender Lilies ends up bearing too close a resemblance to the former will depend on how development progresses before its full release.

 

Overall, I was extremely impressed with what Ender Lilies has to offer gamers at this stage in development. It has great potential to offer gamers more than simply being another combat-orientated Metroidvania game and it will be very interesting to see how the final product plays out compared to where Binary Haze is with it at this point in time.