Artistic beauty comes in a variety of styles. It can be lots of colors, lots of details, unique characters, and vivid imagery. Ender Lilies takes the gloomy tones of red, white, and black to make a hauntingly gorgeous little platformer that combines good skill with great looks. While I do wish that some of the gameplay was more reliable and enemies were a bit more varied and unique, this 2-D Platformer offers a fresh coat of paint on a regular formula.
The story here is somewhat familiar, the main character doesn’t know where they are, they barely know who they are, and they are unsure of exactly what to do. While the trope is pretty common, a strong protagonist with an interesting personality making discoveries about their life in the world around them is what can make a game go from good to great. Our main character here does drive the plot enough to warrant the playthrough, but she never acts in such a unique way that I’m excited to see her interact with other characters. The story does unfold some cool mysteries, but it is still filled with very familiar feelings and concepts to other fantasy games and stories.
While Ender Lilies‘ platforming might not be on par with something like Ori, Metroid, Cuphead, or Mario, it still stands as a fine action-platformer. Players gain control over various ally and enemy spirits that they can use to attack and defend. It is a cool concept to allow for a variety of different attacks and interesting combos, but the inherent limiting attacks on certain moves/spirits is an interesting concept but doesn’t feel great in general gameplay. Overall, it’s fun and fine, but not exceptionally innovative or unique.
To be honest, the best part about this game is the aesthetics. The character models, animation, and world design are dark and powerful. The smooth details in the characters and their animations and the haunting environments culminate into a beautiful presentation. While a bit more colors could have created some stark and drastic moments, the bleak world is a treat to behold.
Fans of platforming games and darker fantasies will get a lot of mileage out of this game, and even newcomers to the genre can start out well here. I do wish there was a bit more variety and innovation in the story, combat, and enemies, but there is still a lot to enjoy from the refinement and polish of the various aspects of the game.