Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is a dark fantasy 2D aRPG/metroidvania developed by Live Wire & Adglobe and published by Binary Haze Interactive. The game is available now on Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam.
The events of the game take place in a ruined kingdom of Land’s Fall faced with a disastrous Rain of Death. The calamity transformed living creatures into undead monstrosities known as the Blighted and devastated the land.
A young girl named Lily awakens in the depths of the church. It is up to her to journey through the ruined Land’s End to uncover the truth with the help of fallen knights. But beware! Even a moment of indecision can lead to the end of your adventure.
The very beginning of the game plunges players into its dark aesthetics: destroyed buildings flooded with the endless rain, decaying structures and remains, and a bright, light spark: Lily, the girl that awakens from the call of a spirit.
The Rain of Death devastated the kingdom and brought it to ruin, driving people crazy and turning them into living dead. But a child was born, able to cleanse the corruption of those defiled by the rain. That led to the birth of a new religion in the kingdom, the cult of white priestesses. However, they were unable to save the kingdom from ruination. The knights and nuns haven’t managed to save those wonderful children and only one managed to survive – Lily.
The game world is presented in a mixed style with the protagonist looking like a bright anime piece surrounded by a dark, bloody, decaying and destroyed atmosphere. The events of the game take place in a fallen kingdom with its majestic temples, villages, castle and other locations turned to ruin.
They remain, flooded, struck by the cursed rain, ghosts of their past greatness. Each location is depicted as destroyed from despair and devastation. Each scene is extremely dark and – most importantly – animated.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights features stunning animation, smooth, colorful, and easy on the eyes. Players will find many such details in the game: burning candles left by a fallen sister of the church, dust from movement, Lily swaying her legs as she sits on a bench, raindrops on various objects.
Those small touches leave a dark aftertaste, painful but beautiful. Playing Ender Lilies, I was submerged into the atmosphere of the game from its first frames, from the first few seconds of gameplay.
A dark fallen kingdom and the last ray of hope represented by the small frame of the protagonist. At the same time, the spirits that come to Lily’s aid use the same gloomy aesthetic and do not glow with hope as she does.
Each enemy represents the fall, as well. Lily will encounter crazy wizards, decayed undead warriors, zombie soldiers – each of them is using dark, defiant colors and beautifully animated, feeling completely like a part of the overall aesthetic.
But when you see Lily, a little bit of hope presides, even when the girl battles against terrifying monstrous bosses. The combination of Lily’s small fragile frame, the only spot of bright light color, and the huge, oppressive world crushing in despair are darkly beautiful, fascinatingly so.
Droplets of blood on a sword of a spirit, rust on the club that belongs to a guard – and the bright light emitted by the young priestess provide stunning contrast during gameplay. The world of the game is made with a lot of love from developers, and an equal amount of it was given to Lily herself.
An enchanting soundtrack accompanies you through the game. It is bewitching and captivating, with the smooth sounds turning into abrupt jagged notes and then seamlessly switching back. The OST of a fallen village or a flooded temple only emphasizes the surrounding locations.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is a 2D Metroidvania. The game made me fondly recall Hollow Knight and just a bit of Blasphemous. Lily is able to summon the souls of the guardians, with each of them possessing their own specific abilities.
The first is a warrior without memory, endless and eternal, offering a simple swing of his sword. However, this warrior is capable of performing that move everywhere, be it on the ground or in the air.
Other spirits have different types of abilities with a limited number of uses. The heavy Morgenstern of a chantry sister, the magic of the old merchant crow, the shield of the loyal knight-captain — all of these has only a certain number of uses. However, even a single usage can prove to be invaluable with the right tactic against a boss, allowing players to weave together strategies like blocking the boss’ attack with the protector’s shield, switching into poisoning and weakening the opponent with a mage’s attack, and bringing the enemy to heel by stunning them with the heavy club skill.
Lily can summon up to 6 different spirits, so choose wisely who is going to be accompanying you on the journey! Each spirit can be further strengthened by the enemies’ souls.
The game doesn’t push you to use a certain tactic for combat, each player will find a combination of abilities they enjoy. Lily can also find various relics to increase her characteristics and powers. Some can boost her health or increase the number of spirit strikes, etc. Players can also encounter two types of flowers on their journeys. The white flowers allow Lily to use healing an extra time while the red ones replenish the souls.
As you continue playing through Ender Lilies, the game slowly introduces new mechanics: double jump, destructible platforms, levers that open the gates – all of that and more will be awaiting Lily in her adventure.
The game also features certain elements that made me shudder in remembrance of Dark Souls. Each boss makes you carefully consider possible tactics, selecting the best possible combination of spirits that allows you to approach the combat from a position of comfort in their usage. After you have died to one a couple of times, naturally.
Death does not necessarily bring the loss of everything, on the contrary, it can be quite beneficial sometimes. Lily will wake up on a bench she was resting on the last time and change the spirits, relics, and charge into combat again. It is up to players to restore her memory and to understand what is happening to the world of Ender Lilies, who is Lily, and what to do next.
Speaking of benches, they are a local version of checkpoints that allow players to stay awhile, upgrade spirits or even fast-travel to a different location. Your mount is a fallen horse, undead but still remembering the priestesses of the light.
The game amazed me with its colorfulness, soundtrack, and complexity. There is no way to simply rush through a location, you have to dodge attacks and kill monsters, look for relics and little notes that reveal more of the plot. Each message opens a little piece of the story, someone’s love letter or a priestess’ thoughts, small lost fragments of the fallen kingdom and the fading light of hope.
Note: the Steam key has been provided for the purposes of this review.