For almost nine years I’ve been dipping in and out of ilomilo, a cute and somewhat forgotten Xbox 360 puzzle game which recently gained a whole lot of new fame.
Google ilomilo now and the top results are all about the Billie Eilish album track of the same name, whose soundscape and lyrics are directly inspired by the gentle Scandinavian puzzler.
ilomilo’s levels begin with its two characters – ilo and milo – separated at opposite ends of a blocky 3D map. Your goal is to find a path through to reunite them.
“The idea is you just get to each other and when they get to each other they just hug, there’s no prize,” Eilish explained to Hot Ones. “So the whole idea of the game is just losing the person you love and then finding them again.”
Eilish’s lyrics follow similar themes and discuss a fear of separation.
“Where did you go?” Eilish’s chorus asks. “I should know, but it’s cold / And I don’t wanna be lonely / So show me the way home /
I can’t lose another life.”
ilomilo was warmly received upon its 2010 release for Windows Phone and Xbox Live Arcade, but it felt like it was never widely played.
It also got deceptively difficult – and yes, the fact I’ve still not finished its Autumn Tales expansion after nine years goes a long way to explaining why I’ve only noticed Eilish’s song, part of her debut album released at the end of March.
Will the game’s newfound fame prompt a sequel? It’s unlikely – developer Southend Interactive closed its doors long ago. But if you do fancy giving it a go now, it’s still available on Windows PC and Xbox One with a free trial.