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GINX TV > Reviews > Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story

Bandle Tale Review: In A League Of Its Own, Oozing With Cozy Vibes

Lazy Bear Games and Riot Forge have crafted a whimsical adventure filled with Yordles, knitting, and parties in a race against time to save Bandle City.
Bandle Tale Review: In A League Of Its Own, Oozing With Cozy Vibes
(Picture: Lazy Bear Games / Riot Forge)

Riot Games' indie publishing hub, Riot Forge, tasked developer Lazy Bear Games with crafting a unique adventure set within the League of Legends (LoL) universe in Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story. It takes an entirely different creative approach to Riot's typical offerings, evident in its aesthetics, narrative design, and gameplay. My transition from Stardew Valley and Palia to Bandle Tale felt seamless in a refreshing new take on the cozy game genre.

Bandle Tale certainly plays and feels different compared to its contemporaries, but has those signature touches of its developer by incorporating unique themes within a well-established IP. While the game does lack some form of combat, a complete deviation from LoL, the various mechanics, features, and crafting-centric activities are at the heart of this bustling tale of a Yordle yearning to explore a world beyond their backpack home.

Bandle Tale: A League Of Legends Story: Overview

Playing at one's own pace is what gave rise to the cozy gaming phenomena, which was capitulated or largely attributed by Stardew Valley. Since then, players have been treated to many delightful and charming releases, like Abzu, Coral Island, Donut County, Palia, and Spiritfarer, each providing unique gameplay experiences. Bandle Tale is another gem that has found its cozy place within this niche.

Encased in cozy, warm aesthetics, Bandle Tale feels like a different direction for Riot Forge, which primarily focuses on more "strong experiences" within the LoL universe, compared to the studio's previous releases such as The Mageseeker, Convergence, and Song of Nunu. Bandle Tale indeed stands out from these titles alone for its narrative and art direction, character development, and the interconnecting world which players will immerse themselves in the moment they leave Gramps' house to unite the islands of Bandle City.

For the most part, it draws comparisons to game's like Stardew Valley, mins the farming aspects. It's a positive drawcard for players seeking similar experiences but with an emphasis on the journey of an original character.

Bandle Tale: A League Of Legends Story: Narrative & Characters

The game centers around a player-controlled Yordle, who had been under an apprenticeship for over a century, but longs for otherworldly experiences beyond a mentor's home in Yarnville. Unlike previous LoL spin-off games that spotlight a particular character or Champion, the hero of this tale is a Yordle, who sets out to save Bandle City by uniting the various regions to restore the once-destroyed portals.

bandle tale league of legends review character customization creation menu
Bandle Tale follows the journey of an original Yordle that players can customize in an epic adventure across Bandle City. (Picture: Lazy Bear Games & Riot Forge / Ashleigh Klein)

Players gain access to a Character Customization option to create their own original Yordle, which can be altered throughout the game by interacting with a bed. As we'll discuss much later in the review, players benefit from feeling that little bit more immersed in the world, with their Yordle given great significance to the overall narrative.

Along the way, players will encounter a few Champions from LoL, such as Corki, Lulu, Rumble, Teemo, Tristana, Veigar, and Yummi. The story unfolds over multiple quests as players explore the neighboring regions or islands, restoring their portals while collecting resources for crafting, building, and making food.

Players will encounter some mishaps along their journey, but ultimately, their goal is to become a hero by rescuing this iconic location all while crafting tools, constructing homes, and celebrating with other Yordles. Echoing those mishaps are some of the game's lighthearted moments, where helping fellow Yordles often leads to rather hilarious situations. All this adds to the game's warm and inviting atmosphere, which is yet another amazing touch from its developer.

Bandle Tale: A League Of Legends Story: Gameplay, Content & Features

Bandle Tale's biggest comparison can be made with Stardew Valley, but without the farming component. Players will be spending ample time doing a variety of tasks, including crafting and collecting resources, while completing quests, accumulating Badges, and unlocking Skills.

Along this journey, they have their trusted backpack equipped, a Badge Book, and a talking sock companion who joins the hero and their best friend, Clover; the trio ventures off to six unique islands, starting at Yarnville. The Badge Book grants players access to unique, upgradable badges that are unlocked by progressing through quests.

bandle tale league of legends review mechanics systems badges badge book
Players can acquire and upgrade their badges to unlock more Skills to utilize in-game. (Picture: Lazy Bear Games & Riot Forge / Ashleigh Klein)

Likewise, the Badges system is interwoven with the Skills system. Each time a badge is upgraded, more Skills are unlocked that can be activated through Skill Points. Players can earn Skill Points by earning Emotion points to fill their Emotion Orbs. Sleeping regularly banks these orbs, turning them into Skill Points. All of this is linked through the game's emphasis on crafting, which players will do to complete tasks and story quests.

Alongside these activities, there's an aspect of the game we haven't touched on: the social components, as we have to supervise the partygoers attending our parties and festivals. This feature allows players to acquire various amounts of Emotion points to fill their orbs for their party or festival to be a success, thus converting these orbs to Skill Points and unlocking Skills.

But this can be tedious. One thing to keep in mind regarding the overall campaign is how much time players will be dedicating themselves to fully completing the quests, exploring the islands, and repairing the portals.

Bandle Tale: A League Of Legends Story: Verdict (3.5/5)

bandle tale league of legends review verdict final thoughts
Bandle Tale's cozy, pixel aesthetics will invite players to immersive themselves in this epic tale of an adventurous Yordle throughout its campaign. (Picture: Lazy Bear Games & Riot Forge / Ashleigh Klein)

Lazy Bear Games has beautifully crafted a magical world of exploration, crafting, parties, and more, in Bandle Tale. Players will spend ample hours immersing themselves fleshing out their Yordle hero's story through quests and engaging in celebratory activities with other Yordles across the islands, which, according to Lazy Bear Games' creative director, Nikita Kulaga, players can complete within 40 hours for a "fully immersive magical adventure."

The game is quite unlike anything Riot Forge has published before, specifically as game set within the LoL universe. It takes risks in letting players portray an original character, and embraces a more warm, cozy environment. Much of the in-game experience centers around crafting, socializing, acquiring Skills, and connecting the islands of Bandle City; it could get tiresome for some, especially when the tasks feel repetitive at best.

Despite this, Bandle Time is still a wonderful and pleasantly surprising gameplay experience that will appeal to cozy gaming enthusiasts and League players alike. Even for those like myself, who don't actively play League of Legends but has some familiarity with its expanding world, Bandle Tale acknowledges its interconnective history while embracing a more relaxed and quirky approach.

A review copy of Bandle Tale: A League Of Legends Story was provided by the publisher and reviewed on PC.