There are a number of puzzle game out there on the market. Many of them are your standard fare of something dropping from down below, forcing you to manipulate them to create lines, rows, loops, and so forth. But there are some that don't rely on reflexes as much and force you to be more of a thinker. Lolo is one of those games, and it does so brilliantly. I like this game a lot!
Graphics are done pretty well. Typically, puzzles are not heavy on the eye-candy, and mostly focus and the job at hand. That's often why we like them so much. The graphics in this game do the job, but they aren't breathtaking.
Music and sound is a bit of an irk for me. While I like the level music, there's only one theme for all the levels, and there are 50 levels. Thus, the same music is looped over, and over, and over, and... you get the point. While it isn't heavily annoying, there are no other choices of music to play, nor is there any way to turn off the music unless you hit the Mute button on the TV. It's a pity, too: While the music is feh, the sounds are actually pretty nice. Soft, restrained, but oddly realistic. Don't ask me to explain that last sentence.
The Play Control has its ups and downs. For one thing, the obligatory "I give up" button is present, so if you screw up you can quickly and painlessly commit suicide instead of having to walk in front of a Medusa or waiting for that Alma to run you over. I also like the concept of the half-block. In fact, half-blocks have actually helped me clear a few rooms, whether they were part of the solution or not. It gets a bit annoying, though, when Lolo pushes a frame a wee bit too far, and you're forced to concede because there's no way to recover the block. Also, a major irk is that there's no pause. Granted, the enemies don't start moving until you do, but I've been called for dinner in the middle of a puzzle once too often for it to be a small annoyance.
As for the plot, It's your standard fare. Princess Lala (Imagine a pink ping-pong ball with feet and a tail) is captured by the Devil himself, and it's up to Lolo (Ditto, only blue) to storm the Devil's Tower (if you can pick that pun up, you're sharp) and retrieve her. OK, I guess. The one disappointment I had is when I got near the end, and the game said I was going to fight the Devil "One on One." Turns out the only battling I did was turning him into an egg and booting him off the screen. I'd hardly call that mano-a-mano.
The challenge of this game lies in its conventions. Walk right in front of Medusa, and you get zapped. Spend too long in a narrow passage, and a Leeper pins you inside. Your job is to collect all the hearts while avoiding these hazards. But it isn't as easy as it sounds. Especially when you get into the later floors, where it's the hearts themselves that are protecting you from your enemies, and just grabbing them unprepared exposes you to attack. You have to find a way to block those dangers before you can take what they're guarding. It's a very good way of doing things, and the fact that there are 50 puzzles allows you to warm up before taking on the big challenges.
As for the game's enjoyability, Lolo follows the same trend as Shadowgate. If you're new to the game, you'll be spending hours at a time finding the solutions to the tougher puzzles, and this game will be incredibly addicting. (A big help to this cause is how you can continue after a Game Over, thus allowing you to leap right back into the fray.) Once all the puzzles are solved, though, the interest drops. This is a game you'll want to play, beat, leave alone for a few months (or however long it takes you to forget the solutions), and start playing again. A great find, nonetheless.
-Tim Connolly. Read more NES reviews at Logaroo's NES
site. Republished with permission.