“ Developer: Southend Interactive / Type: Xbox 360 Arcade „
I was a very lucky girl this Christmas, but it seems Santa got his wires crossed as I got two copies of the same CD... in the words of Homer Simpson, "D'oh!"
Luckily Santa kept his receipt, and I managed to swap one of the CDs for some Microsoft points, and in browsing the Xbox Marketplace, I came across a cute looking little game called ilomilo.
A puzzle game created by SouthEnd Interactive and released in 2010, ilomilo is the tale of two creatures called "Safkas", named Ilo and Milo. The two friends live on opposite sides of a park, and each time they leave at night, and go to return to meet each other the next day, the route to the meeting point becomes more and more complicated (hence the advancement of difficulty in the levels).
The story goes that one night they were so upset at the thought of leaving each other, they cried, and their tears resulted in the subsequent levels being played underwater. They then go on to draw maps out for each other to make it easier to find each other, but this appears to make things even more confusing and difficult!
In the last chapter, the two friends decide to search for the sun together rather than going home every night, so that they can always be together. I don't know what happens in the end yet, though I could probably guess I don't want to look it up and ruin the end of the game for myself!
According to the internet there are 49 levels (I haven't made it this far yet so had to research to tell you!), and as you may have guessed from reading the background I have provided, the aim of each one is to reunite Ilo and Milo. I bought the game as a co-op game to play with my fiancé, which is just as well, as you are supposed to take control of Ilo and Milo independently throughout the levels. You can do this by yourself in single player mode, but it is a bit more complicated for me personally this way!
The levels are made up of squares or cubes, some of which can be picked up and used to help you reach different areas in the level to either reunite Ilo and Milo, or pick up collectible items along the way.
My fiancé and I find the game both entertaining and challenging, which is perfect as it keeps us engaged and looking to progress through the game. It really exercises our brains as we work out where we should go and how best to get there, as the less cubes you travel on, the better the score you get - though you still are meant to go round and get all the collectibles.
The graphics are very good, and the game makes good use of 3D. The colours are mainly quite muted, apart from Ilo and Milo who are bright red and bright blue. It is very similar to Little Big Planet for PS3 due to the colours and textures used, and the overall "cute" style to the game.
The soundtrack does grind after a little while. The best way to describe the music that supports the game is to imagine a primary school orchestra playing the same tunes over and over on recorders and xylophones - not good!
The quality of the sound is good enough, its just the sound itself that is a bit wearing!
There are 15 achievements available in this game, which add up to a total of 250 gamerpoints.
The achievements are:
Anyone for tea? - Get to chapter 2 (20G)
Halfway there - Get to chapter 3 (15G)
Smelly Jelly - Get to chapter 4 (15G)
Finally Together - Complete the game (20G)
Meet Up - Completed a level (20G)
The Student - Complete the tutorial (20G)
The Hunter - Complete all bonus levels (20G)
One of Each - Collect one Safka of each colour (20G)
The Egg Hunters - Help find all 10 of the floating eggs with the fly while playing cooperatively (10G)
The Musician - Play the solo instrument to the music theme in the main menu (20G)
The Shuffler - Get a score of 500 points or more in the ilomilo shuffle game (10G)
You're In The Way - Defeat a Nabber in the same move as you complete a level (10G)
I have already got 7 of the 15 achievements, having only had the game for about a week, so they are not incredibly difficult to collect, but I think the last few might take a little bit of work.
I have been really enjoying playing ilomilo with my fiancé, and I think we will get a lot of use from this game not only by getting right up to completing the game, but also from trying to improve our performance.
We are suckers for the likes of PS3's Little Big Planet (he actually proposed to me through that game!) so we were probably already likely to fall for the cuteness of ilomilo.
Definitely recommended as a nicer alternative to all the shooting and killing games around - it still holds your interest in the way of really teasing your brain and testing your problem-solving skills. It's also good as a co-op game as it encourages you to work as a team rather than individuals.
As I mentioned previously I bought this using Microsoft Points, a total of 800 I believe. If you were to convert this to real-world money, it would equate to about US $10 or approximately £6.40 in the UK.
Also published on Ciao
Every once in a while a game comes along that leaves a smile on your face. For me, Pikmin holds aspects of this, but now an Xbox Arcade title has grabbed the first place for adorableness.
ilomilo was released in November 2010 on the Xbox Live Arcade. Available as a downloadable title, ilomilo features a simple premise: reunite Ilo and Milo so that they can go for a picnic together. Being a puzzle game, reuniting these two companions is not going to be a particularly easy task. Obstacles will be in their way, strategies will have to be implemented, and both characters will need to work together (either by a single player pressing a button on the controller to switch character, or with another player) in order to reunite to complete the level. The game features 49 levels which steadily get much trickier as the game progresses.
In order to meet up with one another, Ilo and Milo must walk across stretching, expanding dogs, ride an assortment of creatures, drop through trapdoors, bounce across gaps or create bridges to maneuver them. Ilo or Milo cannot jump away from obstacles, or to a higher level. Instead, the puzzle part comes in to how to steer a path through the obstructions. Players will have to put their thinking caps on to work out how to move cubes into the rightful place, avoid obstructing creatures, and free themselves from dead ends. The puzzles can be very frustrating at times, especially towards the final level, but they are achievable after a long bout of trial and error. It all depends on how great your level of persistence is though.
Playing this with another person is definitely the most enjoyable way to experience ilomilo. Whilst players have to take it in turn to navigate their character through the level, the other player gets to mess around with some quirky little characters playing out of tune instruments. Whilst this is only a simple touch, like everything in this game, simplicity definitely wins.
The heart-warming element of ilomilo comes in the game's design. The world appears to have been created out of patchwork material, and each character (including Ilo and Milo themselves) seems to be made out of the same substance. There is a child-like quality to the surroundings, and this is made more apparent in the smaller details, such as drawn on crayon faces on the trapdoors, and the look of the creatures. The backgrounds are just as vibrant, detailed and cute as the foreground, and the cheerful music further adds to this already cute, quirky, and happy game.
The premise is incredibly simple here, but the message on offer carries enough emotion to create a thoughtful, evoking game. The simple tale of friendship is something that surely everyone can relate to. Both characters work together in order to complete the level, and this makes ilomilo an excellent two-player game.
Those who own Raskulls, or A World of Keflings should be aware that purchasing ilomilo unlocks some additional content in both of these games. A World of Keflings additional content allows you to incorporate Ilo and Milo into the game (complete with their own house) whilst Raskulls allows players to race as these cute characters.
There is plenty to love in ilomilo. The puzzles are thoughtfully constructed, the innocent, child-like setting adds to the heart-warming feeling, and the simple music, cute characters and adorable premise means that it is hard to not have a smile on your face whilst playing this. The presentation is where ilomilo appears to succeed the most though, as the levels and cute look are well thought out. The quirkiness may not appeal to everybody, but for those prepared to accept this, deep within an enjoyable game is found.
-This review is also on 8-Bit Girl http://8-bitgirl.blogspot.com/2011/07/ilomilo-heart-warming-puzzle-game.html
Also on Ciao under "MonsoonBaby88"