After initially launching on Early Access, ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights released on PC, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One/Series X|S on June 21st. A month later and the game has made its debut on PlayStation which gave me a good reason to check it out. I honestly hadn’t really heard much about the game until pretty recently, but I was intrigued for a couple of reasons. The first was that the game got a lot of praise in Early Access. Second the game’s atmosphere looked really interesting. Finally the idea of using the creatures you defeat as attacks in the future was an interesting idea that intrigued me. ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights is a beautiful game with satisfying gameplay which can be kind of difficult at times and relies on too much backtracking.
A long time ago the kingdom of Land’s End was hit by a terrible curse. One day it suddenly began raining. This was no normal rain though as it turned everything it touched into undead monsters known as the blighted. This lead to the fall of the kingdom as there was no solution to overcome the effects of the rain. Years later a young woman named Lily wakes up in a church with no knowledge of her past. Can Lily uncover her past and finally find a solution to stop the blight for good?
ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights is a combination of a number of different video game mechanics. Probably the most prevalent is an action RPG mechanic built around combat. Throughout the game you will fight various creatures and bosses. When you defeat some of these creatures you can recruit them to help you in future battles. Each of these creatures have their own unique attack based on one of their attacks they used against you. Some of these are unlimited, while most have a limited number of uses. You can equip three of these abilities at a time with the ability to quickly switch to a second set of abilities. Each of these abilities are mapped to a button. In addition to the attacks you receive from your allies, you also have a dodge button which you need to use to avoid enemy attacks. Lily is not a typical warrior so she can’t take a lot of hits before falling in combat. You have a number of opportunities to heal, but the combat is focused more on exploiting enemy weaknesses and dodging enemy attacks instead of mashing buttons. Should you run out of health you will be taken to your last rest area and you will continue your journey from there.
Much of the gameplay is built around traversing the world map in order to face off against a number of bosses. Outside of the boss areas each location is filled with a number of weaker enemies that you either need to defeat or avoid. Scattered around these areas are various things to pick up which will upgrade your character. The map system of the game is very “Metroidvania” where there is a bunch of interconnected rooms. You will regularly run into areas of the world that you can’t proceed through until you unlock an ability which you get from defeating a boss. Once you get the ability you can return to areas that previously blocked you and use your new ability to continue on in that direction.
Heading into ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights I didn’t know exactly what to expect. The game looked interesting, but I don’t generally play a lot of games that could be classified as Souls-like games. While I had a few issues with the game, I generally found the game to be quite good.
For the most part the gameplay reminds me a lot of your typical action RPG. The game has some occasional platforming which is nothing special. Most of the gameplay is built around the combat though. The game’s combat is actually quite interesting. Your character doesn’t actually have any attacks. Instead she recruits creatures that she defeats in her journey to attack for her. This is an interesting twist on your typical action game as you have a lot of control over which attacks you can take advantage of. Each of these powers can be upgraded allowing you to power up the attacks you use most often. You get to choose which attacks you want to use and you can even change up your group of attacks for the battle that you are heading into.
I found the combat to be pretty fun. While it isn’t a button masher, I found the combat to be quite fast paced. You need quick reactions to avoid enemy attacks and use your own before they are able to react. The combat is built around skill rather than mashing buttons or grinding to make your character better. While you can gain levels which somewhat improve your stats, to succeed you need to be able to time your attacks and dodges correctly. For this reason the game’s combat is quite satisfying when you can get it right. The game has a good variety of enemy types as well.
While the combat is quite satisfying, I will say that ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights is not the type of game that will be for everyone. This is not really a fault of the game, but I would say that the game can be quite difficult. A lot of the combat depends on reading the enemy tells in order to avoid their attacks and use your own while they are preparing for their next attack. Timing dodges and avoiding attacks is key to the game as each hit takes off quite a bit of health and you have limited number of heals between checkpoints. You need to be cautious as you can die quickly if you aren’t able to dodge/avoid enemy attacks. The normal enemies aren’t that difficult as the rest areas are close enough to one another where you likely can survive even if you take some hits.
The boss fights are another thing entirely though. The boss fights are actually a big part of ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights. The bosses have considerably more health than you and many of their attacks can deal a lot of damage quickly. Unless you are an expert at these type of games you should expect to fail a number of times before you are able to beat them. You need to recognize the tells for each of their attacks and figure out a way to avoid each of their attacks successfully. Finding the best times to attack is crucial as well. Thus there is quite a bit of learning before you are going to be able to beat most of them. If you get frustrated dying time after time to the same boss, the game may not be for you.
The combat is fun for the most part, but it does occasionally have some minor issues. Most of this comes from hit detection and the responsiveness of the controls. With some of the enemies it is not always clear what counts as a hit and what doesn’t. Sometimes it will feel like you shouldn’t have been hit, but the game will still deal damage to you. At the same time it may look like you hit an enemy, but the game won’t register it. Along with this the game doesn’t really let you stop an action once you initiate it. Basically once you initiate an attack there is no way of canceling it. Therefore you need to make sure you don’t push a button too often or at the wrong time as you are locked into your decision. This is not a huge issue, but it does become a little frustrating at times.
Outside of the gameplay one of the things that initially intrigued me about ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights is the overall atmosphere. The game’s atmosphere is honestly one of the game’s greatest assets. The game utilizes a dark fantasy setting which I think works well for the game. The game’s story is mostly told through writings left by former residents as well as your observations as you explore the ruined kingdom. The story is interesting enough to keep your interest throughout the game. The game’s graphics and overall atmosphere are probably even better though. The game’s visuals are fantastic. The locales have a unique style and the 2D style is just really good. On top of this the game’s score really helps set the mood as well.
Probably the biggest issue that I had with ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights comes from the Metroidvania mechanics. In general I don’t mind the genre even though I wouldn’t consider it one of my favorites either. While this is common for all games in this genre, there is quite a bit of backtracking in the game. Throughout the game there will be plenty of times where your progress is suddenly stopped because you don’t have the ability that is required in order to progress. You then have to go back and find another path to follow hoping you choose the right one which will allow you to reach a boss fight. Maybe I am just terrible at guessing, but time after time I would go down a path just to hit a dead end forcing me to backtrack and try another option. This got kind of frustrating after a while and detracted from my enjoyment of the game. I don’t hate some backtracking in games, but this goes too far in ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights in my opinion.
ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights does do a number of things to somewhat help with this. First the game has quite a few rest areas which allow you to fast travel between them. This means you can quickly move from one side of the map to another which does cut down on the backtracking. The other positive is that the included map is quite helpful. The map is easy to look at and figure out where you can potentially go. The game even color coordinates the rooms to tell you if you found everything helpful that the room has to offer. This lets you know which rooms you can ignore from then on as they don’t have anything to offer outside of enemies to fight. The map also shows you a general idea of where the entrances and exits are for an area which helps you figure out where you might have to go next. These don’t completely offset the issues I had with the backtracking, but they do help.
I generally enjoyed ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights. The game has a lot going for it. The game’s atmosphere is great from its graphical style to its music and story. The gameplay is quite satisfying as well. The combat is interesting as you unlock additional abilities by defeating the bosses you encounter in the world. Each boss you beat gives you different attacks which you can use from then on. This allows you to customize your attacks to fit your own personal style or what is needed for the upcoming fight. The combat is generally satisfying as you feel a sense of accomplishment when you win a hard fight. The game can be quite difficult though where you will likely die several times before you get a handle on new enemy attacks and tells. This may frustrate some players as it is a game that you need to put in work in order to succeed. The combat has some minor issues with the hit detection, and you can’t stop an action once you initiate it. Probably the biggest issue I had with the game is just the fact that there is a lot of backtracking. You will hit a lot of roadblocks which will block your forward progress until you unlock the required ability. After a while this got kind of frustrating.
My recommendation for ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights comes down to your thoughts on the theme, Metroidvania games, and games that are more challenging in general. If one of these doesn’t sound all that appealing to you, ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights may not be for you. Those intrigued by ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights’ concept though will likely love the game and should really consider checking it out.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Live Wire, Adglobe, and Binary Haze Interactive for the review copy of ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.