Adventures of Lolo (Known as Eggerland in most territories) is a series of puzzle games that originated on the MSX, a computer system primarily sold in Japan. Four games in the series were released in the United States: Three for the Nintendo Entertainment System and one for the Game Boy. A rundown of the entire series is available here but I will address the ones with which I am familiar, the three for the NES.
The Adventures of Lolo series has the player navigate grids of monsters, blocks, and various terrain in order to open the treasure box in each room and continue throughout the myriad of levels. Each level is a single room; there is no scrolling as in many other puzzle games such as Boulder Dash, Lemmings, or Lode Runner. All three Lolo games use similar graphical palettes, items, and music, with little variation throughout. However, this is not a problem, as the most noteworthy aspect of the Lolo series is its fiendishly clever and challenging brainteasers.
You collect hearts to both unlock the chest required to complete the level and to gain eggs and items. Eggs can be shot at enemies to turn them into eggs for a few seconds. While incapacitated, they can be pushed around like blocks, shoved into water to use as a temporary boat, or shot again to make them disappear for a longer period of time. This is a smart use of a simple mechanic for multiple purposes and definitely Lolo’s defining trait.
Enemies are much more varied than you would expect from a puzzle game. There are the simple Snakes who stand still for use a tools after you egg them; Gols, pink dragons that spit fire after all the hearts in a level have been collected; Leepers, lizards that run around and turn into indestructible blocks when they touch you, Medusae, which kill Lolo when he’s in their line of sight; and other well-designed creatures. These combined with the various types of tiles (Desert, water, mountains, one-way arrows, and more) that lay out each level make for a fascinating experience.
The music is fun and catchy enough to not get old, especially after you’ve heard it a thousand times and are wracking your brain to figure out what to do next. No, really; 20 years after first playing it, the repetitive music has still never left my head.
I keep coming back to these games year after year. The brilliance of the puzzles can’t be overstated; these are some of the finest puzzle games known to man. Whenever I replay Adventure of Lolo 3, I have difficulty with level 10-5, a particularly clever puzzle involving egged Gols, water currents, and ladders.
Adventures of Lolo 3 is the best game in this excellent series. More levels, more elements in those levels, more backgrounds, a new enemy type, boss fights… you can even switch (For aesthetic purposes) between Blue Puffball Lolo and Pink Puffball Lala. There are also some segments where you can switch between levels if you’re stuck on one, giving a frustrated player more options.
The first two Lolo games have a lives system which is unnecessary given the fact that you have unlimited continues and remain on the same room whenever you use either, giving the player effectively unlimited lives, but in a cumbersome manner. The third simply gives the player infinite lives, making for a more streamlined process.
The other aspect of the games that I don’t like is the certain element of randomness. There are times when a puzzle involves you to egg away an enemy and push a block over them, causing the enemy to respawn in another location. This is irritating because it is counter-intuitive and requires lots of pointless trial and error to find out enemy is the right one to block. Lolo 2 has a few hidden levels for experts only, one of which involves an especially grueling example of this egg teleportation annoyance. Similarly, you don’t know which Heart Framers will grant you eggs until you grab one. Take the wrong one and it’s back to the start of the room for you. Similarly, some levels need the player to push eggs into water, but the currents on which the eggs move are not immediately apparent. Reset again.
Ultimately, however, the Adventures of Lolo series makes for a fun and captivating bunch of puzzlers that exercise the player’s mind as well as his reflexes. It’s unlikely that we’ll ever see another entry in the Lolo series. The closest we’ve gotten is cameos in the Kirby series. But the Lolo games of old are highly recommended.