Review: ilomilo

The final title in the Games for Holidays promotion is an incredibly cute title that goes by the name of ilomilo. Ilomilo, which combines the names of the two protagonists, Ilo and Milo, appears to be a 3-D platformer at first glance, but without a doubt, this is a puzzle title.

The game centers around the two characters, Ilo and Milo. The story goes that they are best friends that live on separate ends of a park, but they like to see each other. Unfortunately, they have terrible memory, so everytime they try to visit each other, the journey seems different, which explains to the player why the puzzle is different with every level.

The game puts the two characters at opposite ends of the puzzle (or sometimes right next to each other) and gives the player the objective of making the two meet. Seems simple, right? Well, for the most part it is. Every so often, however, they will throw a serious curveball into the level and make it very difficult to finish.

To overcome the various obstacles in the levels, the player will be required to switch between the two characters, pick up and place various kinds of blocks and even defy gravity by rotating around the cubes. The different cubes range from simple moveable blocks to ones that extend and even transport the character to the other side of the cube.

As you advance through the nearly 50 puzzles, you'll play through several different environments, which makes it so the game always looks fresh. Even if the game didn't switch around the various environments, the game is still gorgeous looking and totally unique as far as presentation goes. The whole title has this LittleBigPlanet feel to it in the presentation department, but this is certainly a unique experience that takes full advantage of the Xbox 360's power.

There is much more to do within the puzzles themselves than just reunite the two little guys. Within each puzzle, there are smaller versions of ilo and milo called Safkas which are hidden throughout the levels and generally require the player to go out of their normal path to retrieve. Collecting Safkas results in bonus content that is generally worth the collection for those fans that get really sucked into the title. In addition to Safkas, players can also collect various fragments of memories and other bonus content, such as soundtrack parts, with all go to unlock bonus content for both the game and the other Games for Holidays titles.

Overall, ilomilo is about as addicting as games come. The average player might find themselves turned off by the somewhat cutesy art style, but once you get past the art-style and overall silliness of the title, you have a serious platforming puzzler that is able to present a serious challenge to even the most experienced gamer. Ilomilo is one of the first titles to be released in 2011 and if it is any indication as to how the year will shape up for Xbox Live Arcade, then we are in for a good one.