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Adventures of Lolo (NES) artwork

Adventures of Lolo (NES) review

"Bit by bit, block by block."

Adventures of Lolo (NES) image

Adventures of Lolo is a retro brain teaser that harmoniously blends puzzler elements with action and adventure to create a wondrous experience. There's more to the game than dropping blocks or colored objects, though. You actually have an environment to interact with, stimuli to experiment with, and hazards both organic and situational. Lolo is a clever title for anyone who loves smart titles loaded with tinkering.

The game released during daring times when developers happily threw logic and continuity out the window. It was an era when villains performed redundant or overly complicated tasks in the name of creativity. Enter King Egger: a monstrous tyrant with a penchant for kidnapping princesses, such as Lala, and imprisoning them in towers full of solvable, yet horribly inconvenient puzzles. Apparently, the only ball of fluff clever enough to plow through these riddles is Princess Lala's boyfriend, Lolo. This is what made NES magical. Devs could make up any old nonsense and call it a premise. Why did Egger place her in a tower comprised 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 Egger's problem, but it wouldn't make for much of a conflict.

Adventures of Lolo (NES) image

Every level of Lolo is a single screen filled with diverse environs, from enemies to obstacles and a bunch of hearts. The objective of each stage is to nab all hearts without dying, which opens a chest containing a key that unlocks the exit. Grab that and mosey on through the door and you're golden. Believe me, doing so is not as easy as it sounds, as enemies and hazards lurk around every corner. Some foes chase you down and rip to shreds, others turn you to stone or throw daggers or flames at you. It's up to you to figure out how to deal with these nuisances, but the standard method is by pushing blocks to corner them or impede their projectiles. 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 raft. Some adversaries even make terrific meat shields by absorbing the aforementioned fireballs.

The game's puzzles start off easy enough, but like any puzzler worth its salt they become a beastly challenge. Each stage requires you to tinker with the objects and creatures to figure out the order of events that lead you to victory. You might have to push a block here, encapsulate a worm there, secure hearts in a particular order to unlock a special item like a bridge or a hammer, shatter a stone, and then rush to avoid being killed by an armadillo. Many seemingly obvious situations pop up that turn out to be red herrings, and you begin to wonder if the game is really playing you. Sometimes the situation might seem to call for you to push a block here so that a Medusa doesn't see you. But then how else could you keep a nearby skull from chomping 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 goons later on?

The game becomes quite demanding, too. You have to position blocks precisely, or turn just the right monsters into eggs and push them into proper places, sometimes even in the right position of the water so that their eggs float in the correct direction rather than sinking or going the wrong way. You might pull hairs out of your head and realize you'll never need to set foot in a salon or barbershop as long as you play Lolo.

Adventures of Lolo (NES) image

As if the challenge wasn't enough, the screw up rate is jacked up by the slightly over-responsive controls. Sometimes you may push a block just a little too far, even if it's by half a block length. Leaving even a seemingly innocuous opening could lead to your eventual doom, as certain shooting beasts can still fire a projectile past a halfway out of place cube. Lolo is that stringent. Thankfully the game features a password system, so getting through the campaign isn't a humongous hassle.

Lolo is an intelligently made game that brings together fast-paced gameplay, intellect-trying puzzles, and a cuddly-but-not-too-sweet atmosphere, then throws in a skull-smashing challenge factor 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 adorable and tough at the same time. You feel like you can just pass the level you're currently playing if you keep trying. You glance at the clock and see that it's 3 AM, but you can manage on four hours of sleep anyway. Okay, two... The game draws you in and keeps you playing until the ride's over or until you concede that you have to slumber. Rock on, Lolo. I do wish they would revive you, and not a minor boss encounter in a Kirby game.

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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