Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story Preview
When it comes to powerhouse game franchises, Riot Games’ League of Legends has to be near the top of the heap. Along with DOTA, League of Legends has dominated the MOBA genre since it premiered in 2009. It’s not hard to understand why. League is both accessible and endlessly deep, and has become the world’s biggest esport. Aside from the core game, the franchise has spawned a universe of media: music, comics, fiction, the excellent Arcane television series, and spinoff games. Add to the latter Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story.
Similar to other games from developer Lazy Bear, Bandle Tale is not a hardcore League-related action game, but a family-friendly crafting and role-playing experience. Eschewing violence or combat of any kind, Bandle Tale embraces the peaceful, easy feeling of the best pixel art crafting RPGs. It’s easy to spend hours exploring, building, farming, and socializing with other characters in the world.
No Experience Necessary
At a recent press preview, Lazy Bear team members showcased the upcoming game. They emphasized that, although there are plenty of LoL Easter eggs, no experience with League is necessary to enjoy Bandle Tale. That said, players totally unfamiliar with League of Legends lore might do some reading just for context.
Bandle Tale takes place in a land called Banterra, home of the yordles. For non-League folks, they’re a race of magical spirits that take the appearance of various fanciful animal bipeds. In other words, something akin to tiny furries. At the center of the map is the hub area, Bandle City. Connected to the hub are a handful of island-like districts, each with a theme.
Each is both mechanically and visually distinct. For example, one enchanting zone was based on the idea of music, with footbridges in the form of piano keyboards. Another was an MC Escher-influenced zone that had a regular and upside-down version. One zone was focused on magic, another on machinery.
Bandle Tale plays with the crafting and building mechanics common to the genre. One of the most innovative ideas was that your character literally had their house on their backs. Wherever they wanted to stop and build, they could open their backpack and unfold their house and a carpet. The carpet was where crafting stations were placed, so there was no need to trudge back to a single home or to re-build crafting tables. Additionally, while the exteriors of the houses don’t change, inside the layout of rooms and décor can be as ambitious as the player wants.
There is a very important social aspect to Bandle Tale. While it isn’t focused on romancing other Yordle, the theme of friendship and coming together with common goals is at the core of the game. The player’s main task is to befriend and unite the various regions of Banterra. Not to mention staging happy dance parties and forming and maintaining social bonds. From the developer demo, it was hard to tell if Bandle Tale is entirely conflict-free. There’s definitely no warfare.
There’s lots of magic, though, both in the world’s mechanics and in the game’s adorable art style. While it looks like a colorful, detailed, and whimsical pixel art world, everything is actually handcrafted and 3D. The developers noted that nothing is procedurally generated. All the art and assets are intentionally placed.
While it certainly lives in the laid-back world of crafting games like the valleys Stardew and Dreamlight, Bandle Tale’s connection to the League of Legends universe makes it unique. With an enchanting art style and creative mechanics, fans of both League and crafting RPGs have something exciting to look forward to.
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