Games that require you to use your brain to solve practical puzzles are few and far between. Adventures of Lolo is a classic puzzler that will make you scratch your head until your hair falls out. However, nothing feels more rewarding than mastering each challenge that this delightful game will present to you along the journey.
Lolo's adventure starts with the devastating scene of Lolo witnessing his sweetheart (Lala) being abducted by King Egger. This happens right after you turn the game on, so you're immediately saddened but also inspired to rescue your poor pink partner. Your job is to control Lolo through fifty rooms (that act as levels) in order to finally confront the greasy monarch and get your beloved back. It's a heart-shattering story for such a cute game, but it definitely makes you want to play through until the end.
Adventures of Lolo looks fantastic. Lolo and all of his enemies are animated wonderfully as illustrated in the way that Lolo moves his entire body when he walks, and pulls silly faces when he gets hurt. Also, the enemies always seem alive as they turn their heads and watch you walk by. The rooms appear detailed although each one basically looks the same. Sure, you'll be presented with different layouts, objects, and enemies, but the brick walls and floors never change. The music consists of one song that plays throughout and, although it's catchy, it becomes repetitive rather quickly. Sound effects as you use abilities, collect items, and clear rooms are satisfying but you'll probably prefer to play on mute after a while from the repetitious music.
Lolo is controlled by moving him around and pushing an action button for basically anything that he's capable of. The goal of each room is to collect every heart in order to open a chest which contains a jewel that clears the enemies and opens the exit. Clearing rooms requires you to push blocks to barricade enemies, encapsulate enemies in eggs, and try to navigate past aggressive enemies without getting hurt. You will also sometimes be equipped with certain tools such as an arrow that rotates "one-way passes" which may allow you to walk across them, a bridge that you can place above a river, and a hammer that allows you to break a rock. As you can see, there are many factors at play which can make rooms difficult to clear. However, once you manage to, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment.
Enemies will remain stationary at the beginning of each room until you start to move. This allows you to plan out the room before you take it on. Also, some enemies will be dormant until you collect all of the hearts, so a room may appear easy at first but then you realise that you have to trap the enemies before they awaken and things start to get interesting. Some enemies will take you out as soon as you are parallel to them while others will chase you around the room. One enemy even runs around then stops and falls asleep once it touches you. The variety of enemies truly creates a consistently diverse experience as they require radically different strategies to outwit and take advantage of. Certain hearts contain ammo that you can use to encapsulate enemies in an eggshell that can be shot off of the playfield. However, be careful because the shell will break after a short while and vanished enemies will respawn. Also, the previously mentioned tools require an unspecified amount of hearts to become usable. Because of these rules, figuring out the correct series of events in order to complete a room can become quite an interesting puzzle in itself.
Although Adventures of Lolo is a very fun, challenging, and unique game, it does have a few downsides. There are only fifty rooms to master and once you're done, that's all there is to do. This may take you quite a while depending on your critical thinking skills but it's still rather short either way you look at it. Also, Lolo has a limited number of lives which is acceptable for a NES game. However, once you're out of lives, you can just continue via the main menu and jump back in to the room that you were just on. Considering there are virtually no repercussions for running out of lives (besides the annoyance of having to go to the main menu), why bother having them in the first place? It's not that much of a complaint, just something that doesn't really make any sense.
Adventures of Lolo is a fantastic example of how to make practical puzzles fun. If you're interested at all in the genre then definitely pick up a copy of this classic NES gem. You'll be happy that you stood up to the challenge and helped Lolo reunite with his star-crossed love.
- + Incredibly unique puzzle mechanics
- + The various enemies and set-pieces make gameplay consistently fresh
- + Great character animations
- - Merely consists of fifty short levels that all generally look the same
- - The only song that plays during gameplay repeats way too often