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Adventures of Lolo (NES) artwork

Adventures of Lolo (NES) review


"Adventures of Lolo was a very early brain teaser of a game that harmoniously blended puzzle game elements with action and adventure to create a wondrous experience. There was more to this game than dropping blocks or colored pills. You actually had an environment to interact with, stimuli to experiment with, and hazards both organic and situational. Lolo is an intelligent game for anyone who loves smart gameplay loaded with tinkering. "



Adventures of Lolo was a very early brain teaser of a game that harmoniously blended puzzle game elements with action and adventure to create a wondrous experience. There was more to this game than dropping blocks or colored pills. You actually had an environment to interact with, stimuli to experiment with, and hazards both organic and situational. Lolo is an intelligent game for anyone who loves smart gameplay loaded with tinkering.

These were daring times when logic and continuity could be happily thrown out the window, where villains performed redundant or overly complicated tasks in the name of creativity. These were times when a villain could have a completely non-threatening name like Egger. Said villain could take a princess like Lala and imprison her in a tower full of mind-blowing, but technically solvable puzzles. The only who can rescue her is Lolo. This is what made NES magical. Developers could make up any old nonsense and call it a setup. Why Egger put her in a tower of solvable puzzles? Why not just stick every Medusa he has in his army on the first floor to surprise Lolo and turn him to stone right as he enters? That would certainly solve the problem, but it wouldn't make for exciting gameplay.

Every level in Lolo is a single screen filled with diverse stimuli from enemies to obstacles and a bunch of hearts. The object of each level is to grab each heart without dying to open a chest in the room containing a key. Grab that and head out the door and you're golden. It's not as easy as it sounds. Enemies and hazards lurk about the level. Some enemies will chase you down and rip to shreds, others will turn you to stone or throw daggers or flames at you. It's up to you to figure out how to stop these enemies, usually by pushing blocks to corner them or stop their projectile attacks. You can deal with others using a limited number of shots (gained from certain hearts) to turn them into eggs. From there they can be temporarily killed or pushed into water and used as a makeshift boat.

The puzzles start out easy, but like any good game they become a beastly challenge. Each level demands you to tinker with the stimuli and find out what order of events would lead you to victory. Many obvious situations pop up that turn out to be red herrings, and you begin to wonder if the game is really playing you. Sometimes it's push a block here so that a Medusa doesn't see you. But then how else will you keep that armadillo from trampling you if you don't have a means of blocking it? Should you use your firepower on the nearly harmless worm, or save it for the other enemies later on?

The game becomes precise. You have to push blocks exactly right, turn just the right enemies into eggs and push them into just the right place, sometimes even in the right position of the water so that their egg floats the right way. You pull the hairs out of your head and realize you'll never need to set foot in a salon or barbershop as long as you play this game every month or so.

The enemies are the ones that really set the pace. When you're not busy committing random acts of feng-shui on the level, you're outrunning enemies that want nothing more than your death. It almost adds a hint of survival/horror to it. The creatures wait for you, gravitate toward you. You can see the Medusas awaken when you're in the line of fire. It's creepy to see them stir, hoping that you covered your ass properly. Sometimes it happens that you forgot to cover one, you think you're home free, and the next thing you know you've been turned to stone. The dragons give you a big, cute, cartoony smile just before they incinerate you. You're always running, dodging, and planning to avoid a painful death.

As if the challenge wasn't enough, the screw up rate is jacked up by the slightly over-responsive controls. Sometimes you'll push a block just a little too far, and the sad thing with this game is that sometimes even half a block length too far; it can be the difference between winning and losing. Lolo is that unforgiving.

The game hits you with a dizzying concept. It's cute, but it's not extremely forgiving. You think, “How can something so cute be so hard?” Smart designing from Hal. They gave you a game that feels delightful, but still rips you apart anyway. It's like being bludgeoned with a baseball bat and then consoled afterwords. It helps having a password system, too.

Lolo is an intelligently made game that brings together fast-paced gameplay and intellect-trying puzzles and a cute-but-not-too-sweet atmosphere, then throws in skull-crushing challenge to make it interesting. It's the kind of game you can't put down until you've finished it. It taunts you the way it can be cute and difficult at the same time. You feel like you can just pass the level if you keep trying. You look over and see that it's 3 AM, and you can manage on four hours of sleep anyway. The game draws you in and keeps you playing until the ride's over or until you concede that you have to sleep. Rock on, Lolo. I do wish they would revive you.

Rating: 8/10

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (October 04, 2010)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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