Ilomilo is all about coming together. The objective of every puzzle is to get these two cutesy characters back to each other by traversing levels crafted out of paper and quilt supplies from SouthEnd Interactive’s local arts and crafts store. The gameplay is simplistic but Ilomilo has a lot of charm and is perfect for the casual and family market.
The world of Ilomilo has a unique patchwork art style that lends itself to the storytelling of the game. The levels are 3d but everything is on a grid and made up of cubes. If you’ve played bug! On the Sega Saturn, then you have a good idea of what this type of level construction is like. Your movement is very limited in this game since the challenge comes from traversing this fantastical world, defying gravity and reuniting this pair of friends.
The game does a good job of introducing new gameplay mechanics throughout the entire story. The challenge of the puzzles is well paced and the game doesn’t force you to beat every level before progressing to the next chapter of the game. You start off by moving simple blocks but soon enough there are elevator blocks, animals to ride and more. Despite the puzzle complexity, you never need to fear death and the controls stay simple: move around with the left stick, pickup and place blocks with the A button and switch between Ilo and Milo with X. The switching mechanic adds a nice wrinkle to the game since switching characters helps you look at puzzles from a new perspective and makes you feel that you are never too stuck.
The graphics of Ilomilo are pretty enchanting and help pull you into this unique fairy tale. The presentation is elevated by delightful sound effects and catchy music. Despite the solid execution, Ilomilo will not be for everyone. Its slow methodical pace and its cutesy graphics limit it to the casual crowd but the later levels’ difficulty will likely frustrate younger and more casual gamers.
There is a good amount of game in Ilomilo. Along with the single player campaign there is a cooperative multiplayer mode and an arcade mini game. Each level has some replay value since there are gallery items to collect. You can also attempt to solve each puzzle in as few moves as possible. Despite the excellent production values and whimsical story I did tire of Ilomilo’s puzzles and whimsy…especially during long play sessions. Ilomilo is best played in short spurts of fancy. It’s a good game just not a very memorable one.[review pros="Cute graphics, charming music, challenging puzzles, whimsical story" cons="slow pace, repetitive in long play sessions" score=75]