Status: Finished ilomilo’s single player story mode
Achievements: 7 of 15
Gamerscore: 130/250
DLC Purchased: None

Every once in a while a game comes out of nowhere and steals your heart. In 2011, that game for me was ilomilo. A three dimensional puzzler featuring two friends who just wanted to see each other every day, ilomilo was a challenging game that featured a subplot so endearing it caused tears. Usually when I cry during a game it’s because of frustrating controls or camera angles, so it was refreshing to know it was another emotion that made my eyes water. Unique puzzlers that can challenge and keep me engaged for long periods of time rank up there with RPGs on my favourite genre list. So when I heard there were levels upon levels for me to tackle while switching between Ilo and Milo, I was sold.

I was immediately taken with the art direction SouthEnd went with; everything was so colourful and lively. Ilo and Milo’s patchwork bodies instantly won me over, wishing I was talented enough to make my own plushies. And the music! If someone made an ilomilo music box, I’d cave and purchase it – and I’m not usually one for “girly” things. The whimsical and vibrant world in which ilomilo takes place is one I can easily lose myself in.

With some guidance from Sebastian, a Napoleonic character riding proudly atop his flying beetle, my quest to successfully lead Ilo and Milo to each other by swapping between the two as needed began. Sure, you could simply figure out the most direct route and go for the fewest moves possible, but if you only go for that you’ll miss out on all sorts of hidden goodies like the photographs, letters, and vinyls that expand on the subplots – the story of Ilona and Milton or the Huntsman and the Fox tale narrated by Sebastian. And let’s not forget the stranded Safkas that need you to help get out of the maze.

From sunny to water-logged wonders and starry night skies, every chapter of the game gradually progresses from simpler to tougher mazes, adding new elements to help you reach your goal. Using various special blocks that either rotate, float or fill gaps, you will walk along the boardgame style path until you’ve manipulated both characters into meeting as planned. My biggest problem with the boardgame styled pathways is that it’s not always so easy to make turns. The controls feel sticky whenever I want to make the characters change directions, probably my biggest peeve with ilomilo.

Don’t expect ilomilo to be a walk in the park; as you get closer to the end of the game you’ll frequently pull your hair or growl at the TV as the levels become more and more challenging. It’s to be expected that as you progress, so does the difficulty. Unfortunately, it seems to be a touch more of a spike than I am used to with puzzlers. Thankfully I had no Alice: Madness Returns moments while playing ilomilo.

Overall Opinion

ilomilo was one of those surprise games that sneaks up on you and wins over your heart in an instant. Honestly, I feel horrible that I got so tied up with so many other games that I completely forgot about the DLC Autumn Tale. Which means that I need to pick that up and fall back in love with this game all over again. Which I am 100% okay with. There are some games you can never get enough of, and for me this ranks right up there with PixelJunk Monsters and Plants vs Zombies.

You can snap up the game on the Xbox Live Marketplace.

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