By Eric, Getty, Gettinger
There is a sense or feeling of nostalgia that comes back to you when returning to one of your favorite games. Video games can become dated and the controls or the loading times really drag you out of the fond memories while growing up. Direct sequels or remasters are something more commonplace now, but it doesn’t always sit well or represent the original. Ender Lilies is your standard fair 2D platforming adventure but there are elements of it that bring me back to a different time. A battle maiden seeking out souls to help her protect Midgard. I am talking about Valkyrie Profile on the original Playstation. The visuals, the music, the story elements of Ender Lilies bring me back to the first time I laid hands on Valkyrie Profile. It is for that I celebrate and appreciate Ender Lilies even with the flaws found within.
The main character is Lily, who is woken up by the soul or spirit of a monster or hero, which the story does explain during the course of the story. Lily is a bright white beacon in a stark landscape of a world that is crumbling and decrepit. The hero allows you to summon him to attack at the push of a button, multiple taps will create a combo, and more abilities can be unlocked through investing in it. Making the journey is perilous as enemy attacks can easily knock you out and back to your last save spot. As Lily is a mostly defenseless character, it would make sense that she is ill equipped to defend herself to start. One of the issues I have is the hilarious nature of the dodge button. Lily will quite literally dive onto the ground, and if you perform the action in midair it’s very comical to watch. Having said that, dodging is essential and requires good timing in order to progress along the levels..
Ender Lilies sports a good sized map with a lot of different ecosystems to explore. From the ruins of a village, caverns underground, and forests. Different enemies live in these locales along with more pieces of story. When you come across a boss monster and defeat them, you are rewarded with a cutscene, giving some insight into their story. These are somber stories, again reminding me of Valkyrie Profile. The music through all these areas and story elements are so melodic and sets the pace. The music will up with more tension as you enter boss beatles as well as shifting while you move between the zones. One of the challenges is that moving between the zones is not always clear. Some paths can be accessed while others are blocked without any way to move around them. You will find yourself backtracking a lot if you get too far ahead of the story.
The upgrade and equipment systems do not feel all that necessary but you can make the argument that they are more of a reward. If you are able to collect an obscene amount of items to upgrade your hero, souls, or find hidden items they can really boost the way that you are able to play Ender Lilies. However, there are a lot of times you can pass right through areas without needing or having to get the upgrades because you can swap to a different set of moves on the fly. It’s more of a grind to get them anyway so it’s really up to your play style how to take on this task.
Ender Lilies is a lovely and exciting experience, if not flawed in a few ways, and I believe that even with the flaws it is a game that gives me hope. We can’t really go back and play something again for the first time but this is an experience close. I appreciate Ender Lilies for what it is and recommend this game for those looking to break into a game with a deep story, challenging battle mechanics, and stunning visuals. It is truly a new adventure to behold if you have the time and determination.