ilomilo by Southend Interactive on XBLA is part of the Games for the Holidays promotion. It tells the beautiful and charming tale of two cute characters called ilo and Milo. ilo and Milo can be controlled by the player alone or with a friend in local co-op through a series of baffling puzzles which will torment your mind. The enchanting story follows the journey of ilo and Milo who are destined to be together. The trouble is that they never seem to be in the right place at the right time and are forever missing each other.
ilo and Milo were the very best of friends. One was red and other blue and they lived on each side of a beautiful park. Each morning they would try and meet by the tree in the very centre of the park to sip Apple tea and quietly munch on Maple leaf flavoured biscuits. During the night, they would return to their homes to meet the very next day. Meeting up proved difficult at times because it seemed that everyday someone would rearrange their park and all of it’s roads and trees. Something rather odd was going on, or ilo and Milo’s memory just wasn’t good as it once was. Either way this made for a very complicated friendship. Can you reunite these two cute characters together, so they can continue their wonderful relationship?.
The four chapters comprise of connecting cube mazes which ilo and Milo must negotiate to eventually find each other. Players move the directional stick to move ilo or Milo and can switch between the two characters using the X button. ilo and Milo will help each other out, so that’s something consider when getting stuck on a puzzle, which you inevitably do, but that’s half the challenge. The ilo and Milo world is a strange one as you move from puzzle to puzzle. During your travels you’ll encounter cubes which have carpet arrows allowing ilo and Milo to walk around to other faces of the cubes. The walls will become floors and the roofs will become walls, it’s a very topsy turvy place as you’ll soon discover. One minute you’ll be wooing them on and the next moment you may be screaming at the screen in sheer frustration, but it’s addictive. ilo and Milo will pick up various cubes and they will appear as a backpack on each character. Pressing A allows them to pick up a cube and place it down again. The different cubes will react differently when placed down, so a lot of experimentation is required. While some cubes will form into bridges and higher platforms, others will allow you to step onto them and elevate. A few of the cubes become creatures that will endevour to halt your journey.
During your puzzling adventure you’ll have to rescue small Safkas, which are small baby like creatures. The Safkas come in three different colours and when you’ve rescued every Safka of a specific colour in a chapter, their special bonus puzzle will be unlocked. Some of these cute Safkas, which are stranded and helpless, wear little hats. This isn’t because they are truly awesome, but because you’ve already rescued them in a previous attempt. This happens if you restart a puzzle, after getting stuck half way through. A gold star is shown on the puzzle once all the Safkas have been collected in that puzzle. Once you’ve completed six or more puzzles, then the next chapter is unlocked. The game is easy to begin with, but becomes harder as you work your way through the stages. No matter how difficult the puzzles become, you feel constantly pulled back by the fairytale environment accompanied by the beautiful tunes playing happily in the background.
The game has a whole host of collectibles to gather, including records and memory fragments scattered around the world. Collecting the photos unlocks a series of gallery pictures of ilo and Milo for you to view, whilst the records unlock beautiful tunes for you to listen to. Memory fragments are sprinkled around the cubes and these will unlock ilo and Milo’s enchanting memories. Players will also get the opportunity to unlock extras such as costumes for ilo and Milo by earning an achievement in each of the other Games for the holidays – A World of Keflings and Raskulls.
The beautiful and charming landscape is incredibly well finished, allowing players to become absorbed in the game. You’ll make your way past floating tea cups, a cheese moon and even pass the odd submarine. ilomilo can be frustrating at times, you’ll feel like nothing makes sense and occasionally be stuck, often having to experiment with the cubes and your way of thinking. Some obvious puzzles require a great deal of thought and preparation, while other times the answer is looking you straight in the face. Be prepared to be challenged to the limits, but it’s extremely addictive.
Can you get these characters to finally reunite?, and what will the memory fragments reveal?.’ ilomilo offers dreamy, puzzle solving fun that proves real friendship can overcome any obstacle‘.