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access_time July 2, 2021 at 11:52 AM in Reviews by Brian Zuhl

Review | Ender Lilies: Quietus of The Knights

Over the past few years, there has been discussion of whether or not video games can be considered art. Whether it be due to graphics or story, video games have gained a certain sophistication that can’t be ignored. Live Wire’s Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights fulfills a different aspect of art. A beautifully composed piece of music, written for a mesmerizing dance of exploration and combat. From Start to finish Ender Lilies is an amazing experience, only hindered by its lackluster RPG elements.

Ender Lilies is a 2D action RPG that follows a young girl named Lily. Lily wakes up in a kingdom devoid of life, ruined by an accursed rain that transforms all living things into grotesque monstrosities called the blighted. As Lily, you must journey across the kingdom in order to uncover the mystery of the accursed rain. During your journey, you’ll be able to purify the blighted and recruit them as allies to use in combat. Like many games lately, Ender Lilies is heavily inspired by both Dark Souls games and the Metroidvania genre, combining aspects of both into one complete package. There’s many secrets to find hidden away in every corner of the map, with many punishing enemies there to stop you. 

The world itself is beautiful to behold, with a wide variety of areas to explore. You’ll journey through an abandoned church, crumbling castles, and even a witch’s forest hiding in the waterfalls. Each area feels unique, with their own layout and mechanics to separate them from each other. To top it all off, each area has its own unique piece of music. Every track fits the theme of the area perfectly. Combining the gorgeous locales and the amazing music creates a hauntingly beautiful world to explore.

As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock more abilities to help you traverse the world. This always gave another reason to go back and explore previously visited areas. Each location has a few rest points that act as the checkpoints. These rest areas highlight the beautiful scenery of each setting, acting as a sort of painting to be admired in between each death. I often found myself just listening to the music and staring for a few minutes before setting out to fight again.

While Lily is the heroine of the story, she doesn’t actually do the fighting herself. Instead you’ll summon the spirits of conquered enemies and bosses to attack. You can equip six spirits at once, separated into two groups of three that you can switch back and forth between on the fly. Each time you use a spirit, it will briefly appear next to lily and unleash its move. There’s a large variety of spirits available, each modeled after an enemy or a boss that you’ve bested. These range from basic melee combos and ranged attacks to more complicated spirits like a dog that follows you and attacks enemies nearby. There’s enough variety to give you a chance to experiment and create combos to fit your playstyle. 

Finding the right combo that works for you is important, as the combat is very difficult. The first two or three areas aren’t too bad, however as you progress, enemies will become stronger and more numerous. Enemies get to be more complex, with harder to dodge attack patterns, and longer combos. At the end of each area lies a boss as well, and though they are challenging, they’re easily the best part of the game. Like the various areas, each boss is given its own piece of music that compliments the fight perfectly.

These boss encounters are extremely aggressive, barely giving you any room to breathe. Though with each death, you begin to learn their moves and attack patterns, when to attack or dodge, etc. With the beautiful piano pieces accompanying the boss, fights turn into graceful dances. Dodging over and over again, looking for an opening as you dance around the boss. I never wanted these fights to end. The best part is knowing that once I defeat the boss, I’d be able to add them to my collection afterwards. 

One of the few areas that could use improvement however, was the RPG side of the game. There was a leveling system, but it never really felt like it amounted to much. You feel no real difference in combat as you level up. Enemies still died in roughly the same amount of hits. You still die in three to four hits. It took the satisfaction out of leveling up and supposedly getting stronger. It would’ve been nice to see a few more stats other than attack power and health. Items do exist in the game as well, though I only found a few in my playthrough. Most of the items that I found were simple stat boosts like reduced damage and more healing chances. 

Ender Liles takes some influence from popular games and genres, combining them into one impressive package. Supported by one of the most beautiful scores I’ve ever heard, the journey through this destroyed world is breathtaking to behold. While challenging, mastering combat is a rewarding experience, culminating in immensely satisfying boss fights. While the RPG side of this action RPG could use a little more polish, the rest of the game is still a work of art. The challenging combat may be a bit off-putting to some people, but I still recommend giving it a try anyway. Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is a game that everyone should try to experience at least once.

Final Score: 9 out of 10

GotGame is on OpenCritic, check out our reviews here.


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