America is known for making games centered around killing others in order to satisfy primitive urges. In Sweden, they make games about… friendship. America has games where you collect bullets and dog tags. Sweden has games where you gather cute collectibles while your friend serenades you with musical ballads. Southend Interactive’s forthcoming Xbox Live Arcade game, ilomilo, may be doing more for Swedish tourism than the Vasa museum.
At a glance, ilomilo may seem like a childishly simple game about a bad acid trip. Upon closer inspection, however, it’s a resplendent romp through labyrinthine levels in an attempt to secure what may be said to be the greatest prize of all. It may seem easy to walk two characters toward one another, but the game does more and more to complicate things along your way. Then again, we were kind of sold by the first screenshot.
That’s not to say ilomilo is getting by on good looks alone. Southend, known for their remakes of Lode Runner and Tecmo Bowl, promises “about fifty levels,” a co-op mode and an in-game minigame, ilomilo shuffle. The co-op mode, wherein one player plays as ilo and the other as milo, may turn out to be clever or obnoxious: Only one character can have control at a time, leaving the other to ponder their next move. While the active player walks about, the inactive player controls a fly able to highlight things of interest for their friend. (The fly can also play instruments, if your buddy has a short attention span.) It’s unclear whether the co-op is local or over Xbox Live, but one can hope for both. It is clear, however, that Southend has the makings of a hit on their hands.
Everything about ilomilo radiates a certain devotion to making a quality game. The game looks amazing. The game sounds fantastic. The ilomilo dev blog went so far as to release a portion of the game’s soundtrack to fans. The game caters to all audiences. Casual players may stop at reuniting ilo and milo, whereas more serious players can go after all of the collectibles available. If that wasn’t enough, the game includes a fish that looks like Rowlf, the Muppet:
Much like the Muppets, it’s hard to hate what seems to be a real labor of love. The only bad thing to be said about the game is the lack of a release date. Southend is aiming for this year, so we’ll keep you posted. Enjoy this video until then: