ilomilo is the final game on the xbla that is part of the games for the holidays promotion.  If you are a fan of cutesy puzzle games, this is exactly that, if you are not, there probably isn’t anything here for you.  At its core ilomilo is a 3D puzzle game where you try to unite the two friends, ilo & milo, in each level, but this is not always an easy task.

In ilomilo you control both ilo and milo.  By hitting the X button, you can easily switch between the two characters.  When you start out the game the puzzles are pretty straight forward, and start just on one axis.  As the game ramps up its difficulity this all changes.  ilo and milo start on completely different axises in the game world.  The only way to beat each level is to naviagate them to meet up with each other, but the trick is they have to be on the same plane, so they are facing each other.

Each level also has collectibles.  These are not needed to complete the level, but add an additional challenge.  In some levels I could easily unite ilo and milo, but could not find out how to get that collectible on the other side of the world.  These collectibles can make the game a lot longer then it actually is, if you decide to go ahead and try to collect them all.  These collectibles do unlock new items in the game from soundtracks to achievements.

The artistic scheme of this game is very different.  Even though it looks nothing like LIMBO, it still seems to stand out from my other XBLA titles currently on the marketplace.  It is very colorfull, and the music fits perfectly.  Even the animatations of ilo and milo, when they finally meet, at the end of each level, is very nicely done.  Each chapter has a unique scheme to it.  From underwater worlds, to those that take place up in space!

While naviating around the levels, there are usually large crevaces you cannot pass.  There are different types of blocks though that ilo and milo can pick up.  Some blocks stretch out to fill in gaps, others allow you to fall through them to get to the other side, and even others have wings that allow you to raise up to different platforms.  The blocks can also be passed across planes, so ilo can pick one up, and give it to milo, even though they can not meet face to face yet.  This is a very interesting concept, and makes for some very difficult levels later on.  In some worlds there are also obstacles other then just the world itself.  Different types of animals can also stand in your way, or in some cases, even help you out.  A snake can come out of the ground, and throw the box you were carrying back the other way, or a cow like creature can walk over touch pads, to cause other blocks to move in the level.

There is couch co-op in the game, as with all games for the holidays releases, but it is basically the same thing as the single player.  In the co-op mode when you hit X to switch to the other character, the 2nd player gets to move him, except now you are pretty much stuck doing nothing, until your partner hits X to switch back to you.  While your partner is in control you are able to fly a small version of yourself around, but to me it didn’t seem very useful.

Overall I did have fun with this game.  The later levels were very frustrating, and some even required more thought then the later levels in Super Meat Boy.  This game is a must have for puzzle fanatics because that is exactly what it is.  Personally I could not play the game for a long time, but it was fun in shorter bursts.  I do have the want to go back and try to get every last collectible, which to me means it is a good game. ilomilo is 800 MSP ($10) and I think that is a good price for this game.

Enjoy the trailer below!

Title : ilomilo
Format : XBLA
Developer : SouthEnd Interactive
Publisher : Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date : 01/05/11

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*Microsoft Game Studios provided with a promo code for a review copy.