NYR: Ilomilo

ilomilo 03

“This game is really cute.”

A statement like this would not ordinarily have been much of a surprise but it was uttered, with warmth, by a mildly racist and anti-semitic squaddie. Admittedly this is the same guy who squeals in fear at the prospect of a spider being anywhere near him but who will happily stand up to a guy over a foot taller than him and fifty pounds heavier to stop him beating the shit out of me. Life is full of juxtapositions like these and I keep having to remind myself to embrace them.

Ilomilo is really cute. I am afraid to play it for long periods of time, partly because the 3D puzzles can be mind-bogglingly tough and partly because the amount of sucrose on display might cause me to develop diabetes.

It was a delight to play again and brush up against some of the more testing challenges. The art style makes everything look like it was built from an old quilt, the animation reminds me of old stop-motion kid’s shows and the colour scheme has a warm Autumnal feel.

Whilst the visuals and animation are great what really got to me was the music and sound effects. Each level has the correct amount of twee in its ditties; the sound effects and call outs are so ingratiating that it is impossible for me to not want to hug the composer and musicians behind them.

It is the kind of stuff that I wish would accompany me through my life and sound off at appropriate times like when I successfully wipe my own arse or remember to butter my toast before putting peanut butter on it – you know, the big moments in life – to remind me that things are actually swell.

The cheerful sound effects that cue when you pick up items cause warm feelings that are better than any other reward you unlock in the main menu (although I did get addicted to one of the mini-games). There is one sound effect in particular that gets me every time and it is these guys:

Look at them, they are rubbish at their instruments but that doesn’t stop them from trying to celebrate what you are doing. Instead they just hammer away with all they have and when they realise how shit they are they tail off in embarrassment for the noise they generated. Of course they will still give it another shot and each time they do it is like a rush of endorphins to my happy place. The other happy place.

It also helps distract me from how shit I am at puzzle games and navigating 3D spaces. Gawd bless ‘em.

[To read more entries from the NYR series, click here.]