Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights is a 2D side scrolling metroidvania that hit Early Access about six months ago now. Having offered a few solid hours of gameplay before telling me that I would have to wait until later to find out what happens on the rest of the journey, I am happy to say that while my previous save data was still in place, I was excited to restart the adventure from scratch and see how it all played out from start to the multiple finishes.
Very upfront, there’s nothing that I said previously back in January that doesn’t apply here. Ender Lilies is a super solid title from all aspects of its presentation. Awakening all alone inside of a dark crypt with no one in sight, our protagonist Lily is awakened by the spirit of a warrior knight offering her his sword in order to fight for her. While not able to defend her as he no longer has a real form of himself, he and other spirits over the course of the journey can materialize in order to give Lily what she needs. Weapons to defeat the blighted that stand between her and what it is that she’s looking for. Answers to who she is and what has happened to this world.
Set in a dystopian world, Ender Lilies follows a lot of the soulslike formulas of “bad stuff has happened and we aren’t going to tell you anything more than what you can see”. The journey isn’t an easy one as for every new area that is explored, there are stronger and more terrifying foes that lay in wait just waiting to defeat you. To not be bested, Lily will need the help of the knight that offered her his sword as well as the might of others that can only be acquired once defeated. These major beings come in two formats, those that you will simply come across and grant you their powers in combat, and those that you know are about to show up and will test you at times much beyond your current means.
For these second ones, defeating them is the only way to progress through the world and unlock passageways once thought impossible. Breaking through barriers in the floors, double jumping, dashing through the air, swimming through water, and unlocking weird runed doors. Each of these abilities comes at the cost though as each of these souls must be purified and once purified, Lily herself takes on their blight, their corruption and the once pure white flower soon shows the signs of corruption herself which only helps to solidify the lore of the world as you uncover it.
As for the world that Lily finds herself in, it’s the stuff of nightmares. No one is really left alive and those powerful enough to have survived are almost mindless beings of immense power leaving nothing to get past them. Knights in the prior service of the Priestess who aimed to heal all those that she could, knight captains to the king that invaded this land and waged war upon those that were there first, scientists trying to bring back those that they lost to try to save others, and executioners whose job was to not let any blighted past. The land is filled with stories and sad tales of those that held out the longest while watching what they held dear fall to the blight.
For all of the sadness and the visual darkness that you’ll be exploring though, Ender Lilies is a story of hope as Lily attempts to purify those in front of her as she searches for her own answers to the questions that she has. From that perspective, the developers at Live Wire | Adglobe has done an absolutely amazing job. The visuals of the environments and that of the characters, the spirits that aid Lily in combat, the foes that will remain a constant thorn in your side, each of these has a care to their presentation and fit in the environments that you’ll find them in. Bosses in that sense have perhaps the greatest care second to Lily as often they’ll come in two to three phases and each phase visually shows you that you’re more and more “in for it” as their powers are steadily unleashed as they fight to not be defeated.
Topping all of this however is the music. I could quite literally sit there and listen to the various tracks for hours if I could. The meshing of the soft and quiet scores along with the heavy symphony of great challenges was also so smooth that it could take a second to realize just how real something got as the musical scores shifted in their gravity. The blending is so well done that there’s never a solid break but always a smooth transition from one musical track to the next and the sheer emotions of these musical scores can almost bring one to tears at times. It’s that good.
Now, I could go on and on about the mechanics behind the adventure as they are very well designed and feel natural to everything else in place in this fantasy world. But I won’t as I’ve already done that in my preview. Instead, I wanted to concentrate more on how everything came together into a very well designed package offering anywhere between fifteen to twenty hours to complete. The only really difference in this timing will come down to two items. The first, how much lore do you really want to know about this world? And the second, how dedicated are you to seeing all of the endings?
Otherwise, I have no issues with Ender Lilies. Did I get a hiccup or two from time to time in one area? Sure, but the hiccup was so small and specific to one area that I only mention it as the only thing that was “wrong”. Gameplay is solid. Level designs are well designed both structurally for various parts of the adventure and look great. Finally the music was some of the best that I’ve listened to in a long while especially with its blends from light into heavy arrangements depending on what’s going on.
It’s really hard not to recommend ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights. From brilliant level designs over into a properly evolving gameplay and combat systems only ever supported by great musical arrangements, if there’s one thing any fan of the style should sit down to this year? It should be this. Not a fan of the style? You should give it a go as even without the Souls-esque and Metroidvania nature’s, there’s a solid 2D action adventure platformer just waiting to be explored.Score: 9 / 10