Price: Free to play
App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
As puzzlers go, ilu is a cute and relaxing experience which offers up easy controls and challenging gameplay.
While it may lack in a couple of areas it's not a massive deal and its generous free to play experience makes it too easy to come back for more.
Puzzle me this
ilu is a logical puzzler where you have to complete the grid by filling the dark blocks with light. As you go, there are also certain grids that need to be flooded depending on the number of dots surrounding it.
Light them correctly and you move on to the next levels. Make too many mistakes, however, and the level's reset.
As keeper of the light, you have to work from planet to planet to terraform the once desolate lands and bring life into the worlds. Each time you complete a level you watch a series of animations as plant life bursts through the ground.
The graphics are simple but very pretty and complement the nature of the game wonderfully. The same goes for its accompanying sound track. It's not a score you'll remember later that day, but it adds to the game in a pleasant and un-invasive way, allowing the gameplay to really shine through.
You've got several layers of difficulty. Starting off on 'very easy' you unlock the rest of the spectrum as you progress, and the curve is certainly noticeable. 'Very easy' is the perfect level for if you want a smooth, zen-like experience, but challenge-seekers won't be disappointed once you've unlocked further difficulties.
Oddly, I found myself tackling this like I'd tackle Sudoku, starting with the dots with obvious options before moving onto the trickier ones. While that may not seem like a huge strategy in the early stages, it comes in useful when things get difficult.
As this is a free to play game I expected to be wading through adverts and timers and paywalls, but this wasn't the case. At least, not at first. You're given a number of ad skips to begin with, meaning you can move between levels with ease.
Even after the freebie ad skips are used up and the averts start playing, you can watch an ad to get five more ad skips, pay 99p/99c for 100 ad skips, or buy the full ad-free game for £7.99/$7.99. While that's a steeper asking price than most puzzlers, it is an infinite game.
The problems start after you've played for a little while. While the infinite number of puzzles is certainly generous, it also gets rather samey. Ilu does have a hint system, but it's not very clear and can often frustrate more than help.
Once you start hopping between worlds you can upgrade your ship and suit. The main problem here is that I don't know why you need to do so. The descriptions don't suggest that they give you any special ability and depending on whether you use earned gems or your real-life money to get the upgrades, some of the asking prices are a little steep.
Ilu is a pleasant game which does give you the freedom to choose how you play. Switching between difficulties is super easy and you're not belittled for playing on the easiest setting.
It's a shame that it does become more repetitive the further you get, but playing a handful of levels in short bursts is definitely the way to go. It's a fun experience in the right measure and rather pretty, too.