Simply what number of Metroidvanias is too many? It actually feels at this level just like the Swap is being fully overloaded with titles from the style, but when we proceed to obtain high quality experiences like Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights, then that’s a-okay with us!
Regardless of its odd title (which can also be a blatant nod to the stone-cold basic Castlevania: Symphony of the Evening and its religious successor Bloodstained: Ritual of the Evening), Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is a powerful tackle the style with a heavy concentrate on temper and tone above all else. It’s a sombre story with visuals and audio to match, however make no mistake, it’s additionally chock stuffed with difficult fight and cruel boss characters.
You tackle the position of Lily, a Priestess who awakens in ‘Land’s Finish’, a darkish, desolate kingdom that’s fallen underneath a curse often known as Blight. The dominion’s inhabitants – from courageous knights to humble shopkeepers – have been remodeled into grotesque creatures, and it’s as much as Lily to purify and save their spirits.
On her personal, Lily is totally devoid of any offensive talents. She will be able to run, dodge and leap simply superb, however will cower in concern on the sight of the lethal ‘Blighted’; she is a baby, in any case. To rectify this she is joined by the Umbral Knight, the primary of many spirits that be part of forces with Lily all through her quest. Although invisible for almost all of the time, the Umbral Knight steps as much as unleash a torrent of sword assaults each time Lily instructions it; this kinds the idea of the sport’s fight.
As you defeat the boss characters littered all through the land, Lily is then capable of purify and tackle the enemy’s spirit, thus utilising their core skill to her benefit. This could possibly be a large hammer assault, a crow that fires long-range projectiles in the direction of enemies, or just the flexibility to swim underwater. You possibly can wield as much as six totally different spirits directly, cut up up into two teams of three which you can swap between on the press of a button. In essence, it’s just like how Bloodstained: Ritual of the Evening handled its personal fight however, dare we are saying, Ender Lilies has truly surpassed this with a extra elegant, customisable strategy.
As you progress by the sport you too can receive sure gadgets organically as you wander the twisting, labyrinthine environments. This stuff can be utilized to improve your spirits, boosting their effectiveness completely. Moreover, relics might be obtained which grant particular perks resembling improved assault energy or an extra therapeutic slot. These might be difficult to seek out however getting all over the world is way simpler as you progress, with an added quick journey function that can assist you out.
Experimenting with totally different spirit units is actually inspired, as Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is totally no pushover on the subject of issue. There’s positively a sure Souls-like strategy to the fight; whereas one enemy not often poses a lot of a menace, a gaggle of them collectively can simply overwhelm Lily should you’re not sensible along with your spirit talents. Working in and button mashing not often (if ever) works out; you’ll must take a extra cautious strategy, anticipate the enemies to run by their assault cycles, and swoop in to counter.
That is much more related if you come to the boss battles. Boss characters primarily comply with a transparent sample of assaults, however as you chip away at their well being they’ll achieve extra power because the battle progresses, boosting their assault energy and shaking up their transfer units. Dodging is totally important to surviving these encounters, and fortunately the sport locations a save level close to every boss, so that you’re free to modify up your spirit talents in case your present load-out isn’t paying off.
Not solely does the fight take some cues from Darkish Souls, however the way in which the story is drip-fed by way of notes and environmental storytelling is very just like the From Software program basic. To be clear although, this isn’t a knock on the sport in any respect; the concentrate on tone as you discover is totally exemplary, and it makes you need to return and discover each potential nook and cranny, if not for helpful gadgets, then actually for the additional scraps of knowledge.
To bolster this, the sport incorporates a stellar soundtrack with a variety of instrumental tracks, from sombre piano melodies to epic orchestral items. We’re not ashamed to confess that we had a observe referred to as ‘Harmonious’ caught in our heads lengthy after placing the sport down; it’s actually the type of soundtrack that we’d be fairly glad to stay on within the background throughout work hours.
The identical care has additionally gone into the sport’s visuals. Whereas strictly restricted to 2 dimensions, this solely serves to profit the improbable artwork design on show. The whole lot from the intimidating enemy design proper all the way down to the ambient glow of the environmental fauna has been dealt with with unimaginable consideration to element. When you think about how poor a title like Bloodstained: Ritual of the Evening checked out launch (on the Swap, at the very least), Ender Lilies is frankly head and shoulders above it.
Having stated that, there are minor body price dips at quite a few factors within the sport. It’s by no means extreme sufficient to disrupt fight periods or hinder your progress, however when the vast majority of the sport runs at a easy 60fps the dips stick out like a sore thumb. However, this appears like a little bit of a nitpick within the grand scheme of issues; by and enormous, the sport is a visible and auditory deal with, with glorious gameplay binding the expertise collectively.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is without doubt one of the strongest Metroidvanias of 2021, and simply the most effective examples of the style on Swap to this point. It boasts glorious visuals all through, with bursts of color lighting up the in any other case dreary kingdom, and an exquisite soundtrack that we assure will reside rent-free in your head for hours. All of that is held collectively by robust gameplay, with a selected concentrate on customisable load-outs by way of the spirit talents. It’s a troublesome sport at occasions, and the minor body price dips maintain it again from true greatness, however with a good playtime of roughly 15 hours that is an expertise you’ll be glad to check out.