Review by OgesMC

"Relaxing yet challenging. This is for you!"

ilomilo is a puzzle game that was released for Windows Phone 7 on November 8th 2010, and was brought to the Xbox 360 Arcade Marketplace on January 5th 2011. The game revolves around two friends, ilo and milo, who spend afternoons together in the local park. Each evening, the two friends part ways for the night and find the park mysteriously altered by the new morning! With new barricades and strange pathways, the friends have to make an effort each day to find each other in their ever changing world.

GAMEPLAY: 10/10

The game boasts 49 different puzzles with lots of things to collect and find throughout. Following the "story" (which is little more than small memory snippets you discover along the way), each puzzle begins with the two friends separated and you must find a way to unite the two. The puzzles are made up of many three dimensional blocks, some of which are special blocks that you can move around to navigate the puzzle. Using these special blocks you can bridge gaps or change your location to new sides of blocks. There are also blocks that you cannot directly interact with, and you must herd or corral these moving blocks to gaps or other blocks that may be blocking your path. Proper use of the two friends is needed for some of the harder puzzles in which you may have to cleverly pass a special block to your out of reach friend or bridge a single, large gap together. Once the two friends meet (touch) they puzzle is completed and you can advance. The controls are so simple that you can spend more time focusing on the puzzle at hand and the pretty scenery throughout. The camera controls are useful in looking for clues in these three dimensional puzzles, allowing full 360 degree rotation and the ability to zoom out for a birds eye view. Most importantly, you can access an in-game hint that is unique and relevant to each puzzle, through the pause menu in case you get horribly stuck. Early puzzles in each of the four worlds are pretty simple and serve to introduce new special blocks, while later puzzles of the same worlds can become pretty challenging and require you to utilize techniques of the previous puzzles. The game supports two player local co-op, with each player controlling one of the two friends. Be sure to play with a friend!

The game is easy enough to get into, yet challenging enough to stimulate your brain. A perfect combination for a puzzle game!

GRAPHICS/SOUND: 10/10

Each world has a different theme and a unique, gentle music track (that loops) to keep you from getting too frustrated. It's more of a calming atmosphere with lots of pretty creatures in the backgrounds and simple sound effects for the special blocks and creatures. The game's art still is unique as well as the environments, with hand drawn, 2D cartoon style backgrounds and 3D, almost plush toy character models. The backgrounds, special blocks, and characters are all very lively; they bounce and sway rhythmically, almost as if they are moving to the music..

With the gentle music and an art style so easy on the eyes, it's actually quite hard to get frustrated playing ilomilo, unlike many puzzle games (even when you get stuck!).

REPLAY VALUE: 10/10

Throughout the game you can unlock different collectible items in each puzzle. Records unlock songs you can listen to in the gallery bonus menu and usually they are from the different levels you found them in. Memory fragments unlock pieces of ilo and milo's story, which when pieced together, explain why you are in the different worlds. Photos unlock concept art and such for viewing in the gallery, just like records. Puzzles also have Safkas (small creatures like ilo and milo) scattered throughout that will unlock bonus puzzles when found, and usually require some clever thinking to reach. With that being said, completing a puzzle could take anywhere from a few minutes to much more if you are collecting everything. At the end of each puzzle, you are rated based on how many steps you took to solve it. Trying to perfect each puzzle to complete it in the minimum amount of steps is a difficult task in itself, and will keep you coming back for more if you are the competitive type.

It is very important to make it clear that extreme puzzle solvers might find the game a bit easy, even though there are some harder puzzles. Once you find the right camera angle and special blocks, it's often pretty obvious where to go and the game's hint system makes it slightly easier as well. However, the high number of puzzles, local co-op, collectibles, and unique and relaxing art style make ilomilo an excellent go-to game for those who need a break for more stressful games.

FINAL RECOMMENDATION:

ilomilo provides a relaxing distraction for casual gamers, and experts can get their fill mastering the puzzles in the shortest amount of moves possible. This is one of those rare, flawless titles that everyone can get into. A truly wonderful experience!


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/29/11

Game Release: ilomilo (US, 01/05/11)


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