The trend of challenging action-adventure games sees no shortage of title nowadays, but I never seem to get tired of unique concepts within the genre. Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights from developers Live Wire and Abglobe gives us a game full of dark themes and high action, but still surprisingly packed with a narrative that I couldn’t help but want to see play out.
Playing the first few hours of Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights sets up a rather dark premise of a girl named Lily who has lost her memories and wakes up in a strange place. By her side is the spirit of a knight who has also lost their memories and serves to protect Lily. It’s this relationship that really sets the foundation for the narrative because it’s not clear if these characters were once enemies or how the knight ended up becoming a spirit.
Further, the girl is silent, and the knight speaks for the group as they encounter enemy spirits who seemed to be consumed with a dark substance known as Blight. After being defeated, Lily can purify these spirits, who then give their strength to her in the form of attacks and other upgrades.
We’ve seen challenging action games before, but there’s a beautiful contrast found within Ender Lilies that makes it stand out. Given that Lily can’t attack, players are tasked with creating a loadout of spirits. Between two sets, six spirits can be equipped at a time, some of which have cooldowns when used. Interestingly, some spirits launch quick attacks, such as the knight, but other spirits will emerge where you summon them and execute a series of attacks.
This feature allows you to focus on Lily’s safety as you understand that spirit’s skills. Setting down a spirit and escaping to safety as it attacks is a great way to divide and conquer large groups of enemies. Lily also has a dodge mechanic represented by a silly animation of her diving out of the way. I was not too fond of it at first, but it makes sense that she isn’t really a warrior. It would be interesting to see her become a more capable fighter later in the game.
The contrast between light and dark makes the design of this adventure so endearing. It’s as if you want to see this innocent girl through these terrible events, but something eats at you as to how she got this power in the first place. The world around her is deadly and dark, but the developer uses bright red to telegraph enemy attacks, which can be deadly if you aren’t careful.
I should note that the game is difficult, and I died plenty of times, but once you get the hang of your loadout and manage your limited healing ability, things do feel more natural. The barrier is lowered when understanding that Lily, who you control, is not the one who attacks, which makes gameplay more unique.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights does have plenty of systems that can be refined when it comes to exploration and combat navigation, but the core experience is one that I had a lot of fun with. As it enters Early Access, I feel the developers will use this time to create a much more grounded and fine-tuned action game, but the foundation is already set for a challenging and memorable adventure.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights will launch in Steam Early Access on January 21
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