So, for the past few weeks, my friend has been raving nonstop about this game on the XBox Live Arcade called “ilomilo.” I had never heard of it, so I eventually asked her what it was. She told me it’s a fantastic puzzle game, and then started going on about how adorable it is. I am a sucker both for cute things and puzzle games, so it seemed like a natural choice for me. I bought it a week ago, and here’s what I found.
The main characters are two creatures called “Safkas” – naturally, one is named Ilo and the other named Milo. They are friends who live on opposite ends of a rather bizarre park and the gameplay revolves around them attempting to reunite with each other every day. You can either play solo, where you control both Ilo and Milo, or Co-op. Levels are made up of blocks, some of which are usable by the players and can be anything from a simple stationary cube to a rotating brick that can either flip you or roll across the level to activate a button or be picked up by your partner. There’s also the fact that you can change the axis you’re standing on, and… Uh… Oh, screw it. Trying to describe this game’s mechanics in words is going to get real complicated real quick, so here’s a gameplay video. 
Now for the important question: Is it any good?
Well, since buying it will be your first experience with ilomilo as a product, I’ll start by saying that it’s somewhat expensive for an Arcade game, standing tall at 800 MS points (That’s $10 USD for those who are unfamiliar with the exchange rate.) That said, It is absolutely worth it. This game is very well made, with a great visual style and some of the most infectious music I’ve ever heard. In addition, from what I can tell it’s got some pretty rock-solid programming, since I managed to get through the entire game without running into a single glitch.
As for the gameplay itself, I won’t beat around the bush with this one: It’s simply tremendous. Each level has the same basic objective – rejoin Ilo and Milo. In addition to that, all of the normal stages have three Safkas to pick up, and there are also music and art items littered about. Better still, by picking up memory fragments in each level you get access to a sub-story which I won’t spoil here. There’s definitely enough collectible stuff to keep completionists occupied for a while. As for me, I’ve always had a soft spot for any game that forces me to think outside the box, which ilomilo does admirably. Many of the later puzzles involve some fairly complex timing and planning to pull off, and if you’re looking for a challenge, you won’t be disappointed here.
As was mentioned before, the artwork and overall visual style is fantastic. There’s this delightful patchwork theme woven (heh) throughout the game not dissimilar to Little Big Planet or Yoshi’s Story. Add to that some brilliant texture work and the hilariously cute dance Ilo and Milo do whenever they meet and you’ve got one of the best looking arcade games on the market today. Not to mention the fact that it’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.
To sum up, then, ilomilo is a genuinely challenging game that is well worth your money. I’ve often had buyer’s remorse, particularly when it comes to Arcade titles and DLC. This, however, is great value. It really makes you use your imagination, which is something I value in a game, and it’s a quality product from start to finish.
Plus, if it doesn’t manage to put an immense smile on your face, you have no soul. For real. Did I mention it’s cute? I think I might have.