Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights has been described as a “Soulslike” game, a Metroidvania game and a heavy-walled and light action platform set in complex combat. These things are all true, but they fail to capture the essence of what makes the memorable lilies ender. Coupled with his melancholy artistic style, his poignant music and his dark and disturbing aesthetics, the combat of Ender Lilies is unique in the genre but could also be the weakest link of an exceptional experience.
Ender Lilies is a 2D horizontal scrolling action game taking place in a kingdom called Land’s End, today dilapidated thanks to a supernatural curse called the plague, which has transformed its citizens into monsters. You play Lily, a young white princess charged (surprise!) To rid the kingdom of the plague and purify a number of powerful characters who start like boss meetings, then turn into guardians after being released from the plague by Lily. Quite in the tradition of Dark Souls and its loved ones, the story of Ender Lilies is reconstituted via a dialogue of boss and NPCs, objects along the way and, of course, paying particular attention to the magnificent environments.
Lily does not engage directly in the fight. Although she can jump, roll and dodge, the actual combat is performed by Lily’s guardian spirits, each with a specific set of capacities and weapons. The first and most useful mind is the Ombral knight, which has a quick attack and whose movements are not subject to a recharge time. While Lily meets and beats boss and mini-bosses, she starts developing a useful spirits charge that helps him at the same time in combat and exploring the environment, which is full of secret areas, from Optional bosses and revelations that help clarify the intentionally opaque story.. On the way, Lily finds resources, bursts, relics and other objects that can strengthen both the guards and give him more health or healing.
Of course, remove the mechanics of spiritual combat and you have the heart of a fairly standard action RPG, with a variety of weapons and movements as in any action-RPG genre. The proxy fight works well in the narrative context, it looks cool and in some ways simplifies and even more concentrates the fight on a precise timing, a dodge and patient attacks, but it also introduces just enough offset to make Some annoying encounters. The little break between a guardian attack animation and Lily’s subsequent movements never really clicked for me and sometimes seemed to be an unnecessary artifice, because I wanted Lily to just fight directly.
The nine main bosses of the game and many mini-bosses and other enemies are varied and interesting to fight, and although most of the first bosses start with quite easy-to-read movements, meetings become exponentially more difficult. Like many games Soulslike, the fight in Ender Lilies remains focused on defense, dodging and looking for a good window to hit, and it punishes the same way the impatience and aggressive style too anxious. Fortunately, there is not really any death penalty and backup points are relatively common. I am pleased that the developer has resisted the desire to make Ender Lilies a Roguelike.
Games of this kind are not lacking, but I can say with certainty that you have not seen a 2D action game of a beautiful beauty for a very long time. Gothic environments are incredibly artistic, detailed and create the feeling of a formerly prosperous world in the shade of something destructive and harm. Dust grains floating in the light of a stained glass and excellent time, lighting and visual effects are sober but effective. Lily itself is a glimmer of hope in a world otherwise dark and very dark.
A special mention must be made to the sober but evocative note of Milkeiichi Sugiyama. Mainly focused on the piano and ropes, the music is carefully used and rarely deviates from his melancholy tone, even during boss fights, and I often had flashbacks from the fight against Gwyn in Dark Souls, with the tender piano track underneath. The sound design of Ender Lilies is usually excellent but rarely attracts attention to itself.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights has been in anticipated access on Steam for a while, where it has generated many praise, and rightly.
Now available on consoles and full version on PC, any game fan like Hollow Knight, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night or the Dark Souls Franchise will appreciate Ender Lilies for its incredible art, my mysterious history and its action fights.
Although it may be a little frustrating, the combat by proxy Ender Lilies is an interesting and generally successful variant of the familiar mechanisms of action, and the game most of the time reaches the balance between challenge and accessibility.