Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights garnered attention right after its release to GirlsGoGames Early Access this winter. And it's not just that she's trying to play on an equal footing with exemplary metroidvanias such as Hollow Knight, Bloodstained, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Dead Cells. To stand out from the general background, the authors still maintained their style, mood and atmosphere.
And the mood in Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is sad, melancholic and even tragic. Throughout the game we run and fight under the sad play of the piano and the measured whispering of water. And why rejoice if in the world called Outland, almost everyone died or turned into maddened monsters, after the "rain of death" sowed filth on them?
The main character survived, but, of course, she doesn't really remember anything. All the way, she can only communicate with the first ghost of the Black Knight she meets, who undertook to protect her. The plot is conveyed through notes and meetings with bosses - desecrated souls, whose stories we gradually learn. These stories are all completely sad - about madness, love and self-sacrifice.
Such a presentation of the story may seem too poor and clichéd - in the plot there are also forbidden experiments to save the beloved. But in my opinion, the constant sad play of the piano and the simplicity of presentation only emphasize the atmosphere of loneliness and depression - the authors clearly wanted this. And, of course, it is especially touching that at the same time we play as a fragile girl Lily in all white, who is able to cleanse desecrated souls with the touch of her hand.
According to all the laws of the metroidvania genre, Lily runs, jumps, fights, searches for secrets, presses levers and buttons to open something somewhere. In some places, of course, we will not get there until we get special abilities from purified souls - double jump, dash, breaking walls and floors in special places, grappling hook, diving under water, and so on.
Lily gradually gains new levels, which automatically increases damage and health. Every now and then we find items that also improve our performance - for example, parts of an amulet that gives an increase to health, as well as relics that increase damage. The cooler the relic, the more space it takes up, and at first it is not enough. Therefore, you still need to collect items that expand this limit. And then, depending on the situation, you still have to decide what to equip - you won't be able to use everything.
It's the same with combat skills. The girl herself, who is also called the white priestess, naturally does not know how to fight - instead of her, the spirits purified by her do it. The main sword strike is given by the starting Black Knight. Then came flower and water witches, merchants, veteran warriors, village boys, and many other spirits. Each opens something of his own - for example, spitting that deals damage, magic charges that strike at a distance, a circular blow with an iron ball, and so on. There are a lot of options, and there are only six places for skills - two sets of three. Therefore, you also have to select and change the build, adjusting to the specific boss.
Lily rests and remains on the benches: there we restore health and reserves of healing prayers, choose spirits and relics. Benches also work as fast travel points. Well, the enemies are resurrected after our rest.
The only pity is that not all bosses are interesting. Some people prefer to summon fat minions and take on thick skin. Others copy the behavior of their "colleagues" from other metroidvanias. There are also more non-trivial, unique ones, but there could be more of them.
It's about the same with ordinary enemies. Many of them are often repeated - skeletons, crows, slugs, etc. Then there are more complex, interesting ones, that is, the game is always ready to challenge. But what was the point of filling the locations with the same opponents for a long enough time, past whom you just start to run, not paying attention? If only for the sake of grinding. Although you can't call Ender Lilies especially hardcore - the complexity here is quite adequate.
Problems can often be caused only by the fact that you are playing the game on the keyboard, although it is clearly "sharpened" for the gamepad.
In addition, Ender Lilies is not a very informative map and the force of the blows is poorly felt. On the other hand, this can be explained by the fact that we are attacking with ghosts that cause intangible damage, and in general a game about sadness, longing and melancholy, and not about dismemberment, bloodshed and the accentuated sound of broken bones.
Otherwise, Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is extremely happy - especially when it comes to how it looks and sounds. In this sense, the game is close to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Bloodstained . And the design of the locations pleases - there are caves flooded with water, and forests, and ruins in the snow, and gloomy catacombs, and Gothic castles.
Ender Lilies really took on a lot from other metroidvania, which is not surprising in a genre where almost everything was invented before you. But thanks to the verified style and atmosphere, the game looks quite original. Yes, there is no Hollow Knight depth, there is not enough variety of equipment and pumping from Bloodstained , but Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights has its own face, and the gameplay is quite capable of tightening.
Pros: to follow what is happening and gradually learn the details about the world is interesting, despite the cliché; addictive gameplay; interesting mechanics of choosing spirits and relics; varied design of locations; adequate complexity; convenient platforming; stylish picture; Beautiful music.
Cons: not all bosses are interesting; some enemies are often repeated; uninformative map.