So here we are, our first Windows Phone 7 review, and it’s a fitting first game, because ilomilo is a bit of a diamond. A fluffy, cube shaped diamond.
Set in a world of floating puzzles and cube shaped animals, ilomilo stars two friends, ilo and milo, who have a bad habit of becoming separated from one another, and it is the main goal of each level to reunite them.
Played from the third person, each level is made up from hundreds of blocks all hanging in space. Our heroes always start in different parts of the level, and can be switched between at the press of a button. Each character can only walk around on one side of cubes at a time, although there are points that let them transfer to other sides(and indeed make up the backbone of the puzzles), and they can’t jump, run or anything other than pick up blocks.
Certain blocks in the game, shaped like animals, can be picked up and placed strategically. From simple uses like plugging a gap to enable one of the characters to cross, to far mode complicated uses that involve head scratching environmental puzzles, the blocks are the only way to finish the levels.
Blocks can come in all different forms, from normal cubes to extending pathways, there are many different types, all of which you will have to learn how to use properly in order to get anywhere.
Gameplay is as you would expect, with movement controlled by a virtual d-pad and two buttons, one for picking up and dropping blocks, and one for switching characters. A small annoyance here is the camera. The developer has opted for a camera that tries to stick to the angle of the blocks, which is great, but there isn’t as much camera control as I would have liked. You can tilt your phone to look around a little, swipe left and right to move the camera to four set places, and also use pinch to zoom in and out. This is ok in many situations, but, particularly on the more complex later stages, a more ‘free’ roaming camera where you could touch and hold to position it exactly where you wanted would have been nice to have, at least as an option. It’s a small criticism, but there nonetheless.
The graphics here are almost on a par with it’s Xbox 360 big brother, with richly detailed characters and levels. There is not a hint of slowdown, and the animation and art design is nothing short of excellent. Having such a graphically high quality game so early in the life of the platform speaks volumes about where it will be in a years time.
The sound is of a similar high quality, with very good music, although some of the sound effects can become a little tiresome after a few hours play.
A few hours play is an understatement, as there are enough levels here to keep you going for a long time, and with the developer already adding a load with a free update, there will be no shortage in the future. The fiendishly difficult bonus stages for each chapter will eat into your time like never before.
The game also fully supports Xbox Live achievements, which will automatically ping back to your Xbox profile if you have one, and also has online leaderboards to round things off.
All in all, an excellent game, with bag loads of character, great graphics and brain melting puzzles. Some minor camera issues remain, but don’t let that put you off making this an instant download.