Ender Lilies is Dark Souls for Adults.

I'm sorry lmao. ill be serious.

(Even though that's true) To be more specific, it's a "Metroidvania" game with satisfying combat, a heart-breaking story, and one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard.


You play as "Lily", a little girl who can "purify" people who've been infected with a "Blight" which warps their bodies and turns them into monsters. You wake up in a ruined kingdom with no real idea what's going on, and a knight's spirit vows to protecc you as you travel through the kingdom to learn more.


Standard Metroidvania exploration-- instead of a castle, you'll be steadily traveling through an entire kingdom, backtracking as you acquire new abilities and become able to unlock new areas. The environments are decently varied, and all of them are beautiful.

A big part of what makes the combat feel good is that from the beginning of the game, you have the ability to dodge enemy attacks with a cute dive. Enemy attacks are telegraphed with a red flash, letting you basically know when it's time to dodge. For a second during this dive, you won't take any damage, and can also get behind the enemy with it. Does this sound easy? Well, it kind of is. The game makes up for this by--imagine this--making the frail little girl you're playing as not able to be hit by a lot of swords or arrows before being KO'd. It's a pretty fair trade-off, and it relieves some of the trial-and-error that other games have. It'll still greatly benefit you to learn enemy attack patterns, but now you at least have a general indicator of when it's time to move out of the way without really having to squint your eyes to see what your enemy's doing with his hands/claws.

Lily doesn't attack by herself, instead she summons the spirits of fallen warriors to perform different moves. When you perform an attack, Lily merely flinches as the spirit charges forward for her. Plenty of different spirits will join you, and you can map 3 of them to 2 different sets. You'll start with a mysterious knight who does basic, quick slashes with a sword. As you go through the game, you'll defeat bosses and mini-bosses and then "purify" their tormented souls, letting them come with you and adding a new move to your repetoire. A nun who died protecting you becomes a cute deployable flail-swinging heavy damage dealer. A couple who died separated--a sorcerer searching for a cure for his sickly sorceress--become a poison attack and a quick "whirlwind" attack. Main bosses give you new movement abilities such as double-jumping. It's very cool to see these men and women--once pains in your ass--now fighting for you, and even cooler to know that it's because you helped ease some of their suffering and restore their sanity. Every boss has their own tragic backstory. And you'll quickly realize that even though a boss's story is only told to you after you defeat them; none of these people--even if they're beating the crap out of you--can really be hated. It's a beautiful system both from a gameplay and a story perspective.

Ender Lilies is not a very difficult game as long as you remember to dodge. Common enemies are barely road bumps as long as you remember to dodge, and "respite" areas where you can heal up and upgrade/swap your spirits are abundant. The Bosses are punishing and can be challenging even with their telegraphed attacks, but there's always a respite just before them, and they never feel unfair. Learning their attack patterns eventually trivializes them.

The most I ever lost to a boss was probably about 10 times, entirely because of my own impatience. I never was even slightly aggravated about it, though, and there's 3 reasons why: 1- it was my own fault and I knew it, 2- a story reason that I won't spoil for you that made it impossible for me to be mad at who was beating me up, and 3- the music.


Ender Lilies is the only game soundtrack I've ever purchased.

I am a music appreciator. I am also a piracy appreciator. But it didn't feel right to not pay money for it. It's too enjoyable.

This song which plays in the 2nd area of the game is what hooked me. It makes for a very soothing experience and reinforces that the game isn't just about its excellent combat.

Not every song is a girl gently humming, or relaxing piano pieces. But even more fast-paced and "intense" tracks are still a pleasure to listen to. If the rest of the game weren't solid on its own, I'd say the music alone is almost worth the experience. I wouldn't pay $15 for most $60 games. This soundtrack alone was good enough for me to spend $16 on.


Without spoiling anything, Ender Lilies is a story of sacrifice. It's not a happy story. But it's also not an overly-cruel, disgusting, or "humanist" story. Lily isn't getting a George RR Martin treatment, thank God. Still, Lily is a small girl, which we try so hard to protect above all others from the horrors of the world, taking it upon herself to ease the pain of anyone she can at great personal cost. Those people have become vicious monsters, which would deter an average person from caring to help them. Lily is not an average person, she will help them anyway.

The group of spirits who will begin to follow Lily can't perfectly protect her, and they can't do anything else for her. Every step this fragile person takes into greater danger is one she's taking on her own. As you learn more about the world and begin to understand what has happened and what is happening, it'll hurt more and more.

Lily's journey is not a hopeless one, though. And that makes it worth carrying on all the way to the end, for Lily and for the player.

The game uses some Christian imagery in a decent way. The main religion of the land is devotion to a selfless, Christ-like Priestess with the ability to purify disease-- particularly the Blight that comes down in the form of rain. There is a group of female warriors who protect the Priestess, dressed in the habits of Nuns. There is no "le church bad" message in this game, not even the tired "corruption in the organization" meme. I'm good at finding things to be offended about, and Ender Lilies still gets a "Christian-pass" from me. Here's how critical I am: I didn't want to buy this game, because I saw a monstrous nun as a boss battle in the preview images. Someone ELSE had to buy this game for me to play it. And I'm very glad to say that my apprehension was proven wrong. It's a very pleasant surprise to see Christianity handled respectfully in a video game, even if that means only borrowing its symbols/themes for appropriate use, and just not actively disparaging it.


I honestly can't remember a game I've enjoyed more than Ender Lilies. I don't have a great memory though, so I'll just say it's the best game I've played in at least 2 years.

Satisfying, varied, fair combat, incredible music (which I'm listening to right now), and a story that might make you tear up a little.


Very special thanks to VHS-Maronite for gifting me this game!