Have you heard of those games that require blood, sweat and tears? The ones that you start off without knowing exactly what you are playing and that gradually get tangled up in epic battles and areas that you will undoubtedly remember for a lifetime? Games that slip through your hands to give you such good times that we will remember them forever? I think, in a nutshell, that’s what I’m keeping from our protagonist today. Ender Lilies is a title to remember and possibly indie of the year.
Finisterra. I love that word. From the Latin “Finis Terrae” means “end of the earth” not as an apocalypse, but as a place where it ends. And as a national fact, the Romans localized this area in A Coruña at Cape Finisterra. So much for the linguistic / historical sheet.
Our adventure takes place in the Kingdom of Finisterra. A strange evil in the form of eternal rain has been devastating our country for years, infecting its inhabitants and turning them into terrible and aggressive monsters. We will be a little girl lying asleep on an altar. The spirit of a warrior, the black knight, will wake us up and guide our steps so that we can gradually learn more about who we are, what is happening and what has already happened in the form of films and texts.
The game can be broadly defined as Metroidvania with a touch of souls. Yes, as a Hollow Knight award winner. Again, bigger words to name this Bicharraco, but believe me there is a lot of hollow in Lilies.
At first it will be typical, we will explore areas with a pinch in the stomach, seeing a thousand abbreviations and not being able to access them. Enemies will be nothing more than punching bags that pose little threat. But as we move forward and discover new areas … it gets more and more complicated.
The game offers an easy exploration with a permanent map that is completed in each area we enter and the possible paths within it are well marked. In that sense, not to be that hardcore, but rather straight forward. You could say I never lost myself. Rare thing in a metroidvania.
Here we find different biomes, all perfectly connected with each other, with some really ingenious abbreviations. Each of these areas hides treasures, some of which are accessible the first time and others must return later when we have the ability to achieve them. And getting them will be important before you get to the various final bosses that are honestly the cornerstone of the title. Find one for each biome. And to be discovered as epic and extraordinarily demanding matches.
The design of the creatures is wonderful, as is the game where the grays and deep atmosphere completely take over the image, leaving the vivid colors like brushstrokes of hope. Finding a blooming plain will please our eyes and even encourage us to continue on our hard path. It’s kind of like the art of the game itself is, in its own way, a summary of the story it tells us that is magical.
As with any good Metroidvania, character development is key. Our White Maiden, whom we met in the beginning, will have little to do with what we left in the end. Here our character really only heals and cleanses the enemies. It will be the spirits who will accompany us in this fight. Each is linked to a button on the controller that can be used to equip a total of six attacks. Some physicists, like the Black Knight (who would be a sword) and other magicians like the witch (who will be a ranged attack). We will also add passives in the form of amulets that amplify our powers or help us in a thousand ways, such as automatically being a candidate for GOTY.
Moving around the map is a very pleasant experience, especially in the final bars when we have to go through each area so as not to leave an object on the path. Healing enhancers, increased vitality and secondary powers. Not to mention certain collectibles that bring us the happy ending … yes, we have multiple endings.
The game is aware of its demand. And in order not to confuse the player, it gives us all the comforts to explore. In addition to the indication of the possible routes on the map, a quick tour from any rest point is added. It also changes the color of the room when there is nothing left to be looked for.
On the contrary, the fight will be hideous. It’s very difficult especially in the last part where it really drove me crazy and even made me stop playing. I’m not a gamer to turn down a challenge, but there are some bosses that border on being unfair. Maybe a bit of a title problem.
Even so, it usually pays off to change strategy, leave our team behind, try other weapons and bet on new combinations of amulets (passives). It is typical that you find the first three or four attempts to be impossible. But little by little we take more and more life away from our enemy until it finally falls at our feet and gives way (or scores a goal in FUT) to the high that only bad games offer.
But the difficulty doesn’t just come because of Ender Lilie’s bosses. There are exploration areas that are haunted by enemies, some terrifying that require knowing them perfectly in order to find their weaknesses and eliminate them as soon as possible. Fortunately, we will always find a resting place near these black holes to relax and use as a checkpoint.
We will also level here and get “money” that we will keep despite dying. A novelty in Souls games that goes like a glove due to the harshness of some areas.
He spoke a few lines about his art, his gray. I’m adding a perfectly consistent character design with a pretty strong personality. Dark Medieval Fantasy is a genre that has been heavily worked on in the video game that has given way to clone the clone on countless occasions. Hence, and although Ender Lilies takes note here and there, I find its originality remarkable. We see a world that appears to be hand-drawn, with simple animations that translate into a subtle and harmonious gameplay. The elegance of the game in all of its sections is standout and this soundtrack with ecclesiastical and Gothic undertones is the perfect icing on the cake for a game that kicks in with the eyes and keeps you in control.
In short, Binary Haze Interactive brought us a huge title. It puts a new benchmark in the genre on the table and discovers that the Metroidvania never hurts as long as they’re well done. I enjoyed and suffered in equal measure to accompany La Maiden in this sad story. I fought the same enemy dozen of times until I was finally done with him and most importantly, I went through each room multiple times so as not to leave anything behind. In the end, I have a game that I will remember forever. From August 3, 2021 the best indie of the year.