Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights by Live Wire and Adglobe
Few genres have thrived from the current era of gaming quite like Metroidvanias. Between genre pioneers returning to the scene with games like Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and indie darlings like Dead Cells and Axiom Verge, there’s plenty to choose from.
It’s enough to cause anyone to burn out and makes for an uphill battle for any new entries to get noticed. However, Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is one you should absolutely pay attention to.
Rain When I Die
A sinister rain has enveloped the world of Land’s End. Anyone it touches is corrupted and becomes one of the Blighted, their spirits trapped in a mindless husk. All efforts to stop it have failed. In the midst of all of this, a young girl named Lily awakens.
As Lily, the player has to journey across Land’s End to try to end the Blight, navigating interconnecting regions to do so. All the Metroidvania trappings are present. You seek upgrades, return to older areas with new abilities to find new paths, unlock warp points, etc. However, there’s plenty of elements to keep things fresh.
For starters, Lily herself is too frail to fight. Instead, she channels the spirits of departed people to fight for her. These form the bulk of your abilities and are varied enough to allow for plenty of combinations. Some are unlimited-use melee attacks, others are ranged shots, and some are powerful, limited-use attacks that can hit multiple enemies.
You can switch between two sets of three powers with the touch of a button, and finding and trying new ones is persistently exciting. Knowledge of these is especially key to beating the game’s memorable bosses, who each provide a hefty but fair challenge.
The game also borrows a few features from games like Dark Souls and Hollow Knight. Lily has limited health replenishments that regenerate at checkpoints, which are also the only places where upgrades can be purchased. However, Ender Lilies is far more forgiving than those experiences, as there is no punishment for dying, save a speedy return to a checkpoint.
In the Rainy Season
What really elevates Ender Lilies above many of its peers is its palpable sense of atmosphere. If ever a game has deserved the description of “style as substance,” it’s this one.
The game’s gorgeous but bleak art genuinely makes you feel like you’re exploring a world on the brink of total destruction, especially when accompanied by composer Mili’s brilliant, moody soundtrack. Enemy animations are fantastic as well, with each possessing unique tells for each attack. Cut-scenes are equally beautiful and sorrowful, sporting gorgeous art direction that makes the most of their limited animation.
Ultimately, Ender Lilies doesn’t reinvent the wheel in terms of its genre. Instead, it succeeds by accentuating tried-and-true gameplay with transformative production that turns it into something special. For all of the sorrow of its setting, it’s an experience that ends up feeling like a warm hug from someone you love after a long day.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is available via the Nintendo Online Store, Sony PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, and Steam.
Watch the trailer for Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights below: