ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights is a dark fantasy 2D action platforming Metroidvania. In it you play as Lily, the last surviving priestess in a land that is covered in an unending rain. This endless rain brings death and destruction, twisting living beings into demented, undead forms that cannot die.
The game begins when Lily awakens in a ruined church with no memory of the events that lead to her being there. She is greeted by the spirit of a knight who was charged with protecting her. He reveals who she is and informs her of the state of the world. Confused as to who she is, Lily sets off to uncover the cause of the calamity that has consumed the world.
As you set off you’ll come across multiple different environments, from a decayed town, to underground caverns and crypts, and up to snow covered ruins.
There is one consistent theme throughout all of the areas – tragedy. Anyone who used to call them home has succumbed to the Blight, becoming corrupted to the point where even the most resilient spirits have lost themselves in the madness. This is where Lily’s ability to purify lost souls comes in handy. Upon defeating a mini boss or boss, Lily is able to purify their spirit. In doing so, she uncovers the story of what happened to them in life and adds them to her ranks.
ENDER LILIES is a combat-heavy game but, ironically, Lily is never the one directly engaging in combat. Instead she calls on the spirits of the beings she purifies throughout the world, summoning them to fight for her. At first she is joined only by the fallen knight who awoke her, but after coming to the threshold of the destroyed church and defeating the game’s first boss, another spirit joins her.
Each one of these new spirits will have a different attack and number of uses for that attack, which allows you to mix up combat. You have a hotbar that can be toggled between two sets of three different moves, so as you unlock new spirits you can customize how you fight. This is something I really enjoyed about ENDER LILIES. There are a lot of spirits to find and purify, which in turn allows for a wide variety of playstyles. Some of them are close hitters, some are ranged, and others are weaker but have more ability uses – great for getting the last hit on an enemy with low health.
There are optional mini bosses to find that will unlock new attack moves, but each major boss also grants a new attack. And most major bosses will give Lily a new ability too, which is how you move on to the next area in classic Metroidvania fashion. There are also level and enhancement systems to boost Lily’s attack: Lily automatically levels up as she fights enemies and collects experience, however there are also materials that can be found to upgrade individual spirits. These enhancements can increase attack damage, combo length, or even the number of projectiles for ranged attacks. Items work like you’d expect, decreasing cool downs and improving ability effectiveness. The one downside is that you can only upgrade spirits or equip items at rest spots. Thankfully they are plentiful, but it would be nice if you could at least equip items when exploring.
One thing that could be considered both a positive or a negative – depending on your outlook – is the difficulty. ENDER LILIES isn’t a very difficult game compared to other Metroidvanias. There are some challenging bosses that will take you multiple attempts to get through, but if you’re an avid fan of platformers and want a proper challenge you might be a little disappointed. On the flip side, this means if you don’t have a lot of time to spend mastering the game, it’s still accessible.
There is actually one other consistent theme in all of the areas; the fantastic music. The music direction of ENDER LILIES is beautiful. A recurring theme in most of the soundtrack is a somber piano, and each area has a distinct melody that captures the mood perfectly. A strong soundtrack makes a good game great. When I played ENDER LILIES back in early access, one of the things I was most excited for was to hear the rest of the music in the full release and it does not disappoint.
In fact, ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights does almost everything right, with varied level design, a multitude of enemies, a good progression system, and a beautiful soundtrack. There are however some minor hiccups that could be improved. For one, some levels have vertical columns of water that you use to move around. In some cases these feel out of place and the graphic design of them is a little awkward. Second, there was a floating eye enemy that has a delayed attack once it sees you. There were some glitches I encountered with the attack hitting me even when the animation wasn’t playing. These little glitches don’t ruin the experience but they were present, and so if you can move past those few flaws it’s a great game to involve yourself in.
ENDER LILIES is an extremely enjoyable, unique Metroidvania that distinguishes itself from others in the genre. The customizable loadouts and level progression allow for different playstyles and the game takes around 15 hours to beat. So even if you’re binging the game it’ll still take a couple days to get through it. If you like Metroidvanias, then do yourself a favour and pick up ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights.
ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights is now available on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One