Home New Review: Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights – a meticulously crafted Metroidvania exuding elegance and allure

Review: Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights – a meticulously crafted Metroidvania exuding elegance and allure

Review: Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights – a meticulously crafted Metroidvania exuding elegance and allure

This gloomy story has some beautiful texture, but it’s nothing new.
These houses used to be residences once. Inside, books lie open on kitchen tables beside vacant fireplaces, while jars and silverware fill the exposed shelves. Trunks, boxes, and bundles of things (clothes, maybe?) are gathered together as if someone was about to go. They await owners who will never come back.

Most of these houses are in ruins now. There are huge gaps in the roofs caused by missing slates and crumbling walls. Occasionally, however seldom, you’ll see a reddish-purple spill splattered against the splintered boards and realize that a horrible incident occurred. This once-warm, bustling community is now gloomy and dark, the only sounds coming from outside the never-ending patter of the rain and your light, quick steps.

The structures in Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights serve as a sobering reminder of what Land’s End was like before to the Rain of Death, which wiped off the region’s vegetation, inhabitants, and ground. The people that used to swarm this place have transformed into trolls, skeletons, and throbbing beasties that are twisted beyond recognition and seem to be focused only on stopping you.

Sometimes you may beat an adversary who is so overcome with sadness and fatigue and relieved to have lost to you that they would ask you to cleanse their soul before they pass away. These released spirits promise to fight with you in return, and while that may seem a little odd—after all, are they really just exchanging one prison for another?—you will be appreciative of their offer as you explore more and more of Land’s End, I assure you.

Naturally, this dilapidated village is not the only location you will see. Ender Lilies is an incredibly gorgeous game that is further improved by a magnificent, leisurely music, even though I’m not sure the Switch version has the same visual impact as its PC equivalent. There are water-filled dungeons, a gloomy castle, subterranean mines, and an enchanting forest. All are gloomy, hostile locations full with hostile ghouls and hazardous surroundings.

Lily, the little kid of pure white light who resides in the middle of your screen, is the one constant. It’s not a particularly original plot device—both Inside and Little Nightmares have colorful protagonists set against monochromatic backgrounds, with Inside’s protagonist doing so perhaps more successfully—but it works well enough, especially when you observe how her long, white hair twists and darkens with each boss she beats, giving the impression that each battle has permanently stained her with darkness. It seems like she will always be burdened by the knowledge that she must render troubled souls incapable of being healed, and then cleanse them.

Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is a Metroidvania game in which you must carefully navigate a vast, networked area connected by both open and concealed passageways. Similar to previous titles, most notably Hollow Knight and Ori in recent times, you will gradually uncover previously undiscovered routes as your skill set grows. You will often go back and redo tasks when you realize you can now jump higher to possibly open a chest or jump into the water knowing you can hold your breath. The map is large but not too so, and traveling between locations isn’t as annoying as it might have been since the quick travel feature becomes available very early in your journey.

Lily is a strange creature, however. The main heroine, on the other hand, does virtually nothing more than jump, dodge, and spin around Land’s End while summoning the souls of the slain to fight her fights on her own. Lily cowers behind them, and you may summon the fighting skills of a knight, a crow, or a witch to fight on her behalf. However, most of the time, Lily bellyflops around the screen, constantly avoiding danger in the hopes of avoiding injury. It’s easy to see why; Lily is not a very strong opponent and will only die after a few injuries thanks to a merciless resurrection mechanism.

Fortunately, she can strengthen herself using relics that are still scattered about and increase her attack and HP level by collecting collectible bits. You can’t mess with too much with this system since you can only change your battle and relic loadouts while Lily is sleeping at one of the pre-arranged save locations across the game. Still, it’s a really tiresome approach. You can customize and swap between two different configurations for Blights, another collectible, to increase the power of your spirit companions. This allows you to carry two loadouts with you—one for heavy damage that deals slow damage and another set that you could use underwater.

I’ve previously discussed my love/hate relationship with Metroidvania, primarily because boss fights and aerial acrobatics are extremely frustrating due to my lack of dexterity. However, Ender Lilies is a more forgiving game than most, making it possibly the most approachable for fans of the genre who have been turned off by the harsh, roguelike death penalties in previous titles.

It isn’t exactly correct to say that it is souls-like as stated on Steam since there isn’t a soul-gathering feature or even a need to loot your own body in the event that you die. Lily gains strength and toughness with each kill, so even if you lose a particularly difficult boss encounter, the only progress you’ll lose is where you are; your treasures, relics, and—perhaps most importantly—experience points—all remain intact. Simply begin anew from the last bench where you made a save.

There are moments when combat seems slow, and you’re often overpowered by the quantity and power of The Blighted foes around you.

It’s not easy to move throughout the globe, however. Although Lily can leap further than you may first think, mantling is an inaccurate science, therefore I often thought that Lily’s ability to jump farther than mine caused me to miss a jump. Sometimes combat seems slow as well, as she’s frequently overpowered by the quantity and power of The Blighted foes around her. Additionally, a few of those later bosses are too tanky damage absorbers.

It’s doubtful that you’ll discover anything here that enhances or expands upon the amazing work of Team Cherry or Moon Studios. Having said that? With a lot of attention and charm, Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is a captivating and unexpected tale. Yes, patience is needed. Indeed, it does call both a naturally curious mindset and the ability to ignore its rather clunky control system. However, I stayed up much later than I had planned to, exploring Land’s End on many an evening, eager to learn more about the plot and increase Lily’s already remarkable skill set. I have a feeling that you may, too, if you like Metroidvanias and have been searching for a fresh challenge that isn’t too harsh.


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