ilomilo is a puzzle game whose cuteness just might make your brain explode. It’s about two friends, Ilo and Milo, who live across a park from each other. They simply want to meet up for lunch in the park every day, but either due to poor memory on Ilo and Milo’s part, or some deviousness of the park, every day they have to discover anew how to get to each other.
Each level is designed as a series of cubes and often Ilo and Milo will be forced to traverse all sides of these cubes in their pursuit to meet up. There is a single player version where the player switches between Ilo and Milo at will and a co-op version where one controller controls Ilo while the other controls Milo. Aside from this difference, both single and multi-player versions appear essentially the same, so this review will only really be covering the situation where two players are involved.
Gameplay involves a lot of switching between Ilo and Milo and situations where one player must do something in order for the other to progress. These situations include things like one player must find a portable block, pick it up, carry it over to the other player, and place it down somewhere where the other player can grab it. The other player then grabs the block, carries it over to a gap in the cubes they have previously been unable to cross, puts it down, then crosses it.
The level designs are pretty impressive and, for the most part, a good level of difficulty. They make players have to think at times what they need to do in order to progress (e.g. “Pass me those two blocks, and I think I can get over to somewhere where I can grab another block, which would let you get over that gap”), but aren’t usually so tricky they cause frustration. There are also unlockables spread across the levels, ranging from unlockable music tracks, to bonus levels for the chapter (for these bonus levels you must collect all of the little guys called Safkas of a particular color in all of the levels of the chapter in order to unlock the same colored bonus level).
I only have two small complaints about the game. First, the controls can be a little sticky at times, mostly in regard to turning. You can face one of four directions in ilomilo: forward, backward, left, or right. As you hit the analog stick in one of these directions, it’s a common occurrence that you’ll keep rotating, so instead of left, you’ll be facing back. It’s a small thing, but it can get frustrating at times.
The second thing is that when you’re playing with another person after you hit X to switch over to them, you’re basically stuck doing nothing. The person who is not currently controlling the character with agency has a tiny, fly-like version of their character (it has wings and buzzes when you move) that you can move around the screen to perhaps point out where you mean when you say something like: “no, go over there!” to your co-op buddy, but we never really made use it. Though I completely understand why they did this (usually only one of the characters is able to progress at a time), it would’ve been nice if you had something you could do when the focus is not on your character. As it is, it often feels like pass-the-controller co-op, which, don’t get me wrong, I usually enjoy; however, I was expecting just a little more perhaps from ilomilo.