Puzzle games tend to be an exercise in frustration for yours truly. I typically don’t find any joy in spending a time racking my brain to solve a puzzle, let alone repeating the process. Making things worse is the fact that the eventual solution is usually something painfully obvious. Thankfully, the modern gaming media has me covered in most cases with plenty of in-depth walkthroughs and tutorials. I was all but set to have one on standby when I first played Lilith-M, but as fate would have it, the game was more intuitive and fun than I anticipated. Coming to America from one of my new favorite publishers, E-Home Entertainment, Lilith-M puts you in control of two characters at once to find Lilith’s lost brother. What I ended up finding was a clever puzzler with some enjoyable challenges.
While enjoying a good frolic outside, Lilith and her brother stumble into a hole and fall a great distance. Awakening in a daze and without her brother, Lilith is confused and must accept the help of a mysterious robot. The robot gives basic instructions on how to move and interact with things and before you know it, you are controlling both characters at the same time. While in the same room technically, Lilith and the robot are always separated by a divide in the middle of the screen. The goal of every level is for Lilith to collect one key and the robot collects another. Once both keys are collected, the level ends and our heroes automatically move to an ascending platform that brings them to a new area.
While everything sounds easy, there are plenty of hazards that can spell immediate doom for Lilith or the robot. Retracting spikes, pits, laser beams, man-eating plants and crushing pillars must be avoided for success. The movements of the characters are similar to a grid, where you progress square-by-square either vertically or horizontally. Both characters move together, but if one is blocked by a wall or other non-deadly obstacle then only the character without impediment will move. In many levels there are switches that lower barriers and make areas accessible for the other player. The robot might be stuck but when Lilith flips a switch, it lowers a barrier wall on the Robot’s side. Aside from the occasional half-step where you might be teetering on the edge of falling, the controls work just as you would expect.
Each of the nearly 40 levels have coins you can earn to purchase outfits and gears for completing three objectives: under a time threshold, deaths threshold and one for completing the level. Earning gears gives you a sense of level mastery and they also act as currency used for buying cosmetic outfits. I did find it redundant to have two forms of currency for the same type of items, but thankfully it lead to unlocking outfits faster. Aside from replaying levels for enjoyment, there is not much replay value once you’ve mastered each level. However, the time this takes in relation to the fair $9.99 listing price is enough to make most gamers feel content.
Presentation-wise, Lilith-M has its own steampunk/mechanical style that fits the theme. It certainly won’t blow you away with its graphical might, but everything is appealing and didn’t detract from the experience. Loading levels and retrying levels is a quick process, which I greatly appreciated when I was attempting to earn 3 gears per stage. The music was surprisingly good as well, ominous tones fit the theme of despair and did a good job blending in without distraction. I would have liked to see more level variety and storyboard sequences, but overall what’s here is quite serviceable.
Playing Lilith-M made me forget that I am not a fan of puzzle games. There was a nice balance of challenging levels without rage that more games could learn from. Logical solutions meant that me, the ultimate guide user, felt confident enough to go it alone and still found success. Those who are interested will find a relatively easy gamerscore completion, with most achievements tied to dying in a specific way or simply beating the levels in any form. Sometimes two is better than one, that certainly holds true when it comes to Lilith-M.