Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story Review
A League of Legends continues to expand its universe with Song of Nunu, a narrative-driven adventure by the acclaimed developer, Tequila Works. While other spin-offs have explored a range of genres to delve into the lore of the franchise, this adventure places the plot at the forefront to tell a touching story that helps it soar above its peers.
You play as Nunu, a cheeky young lad who is in search of his mother. With the aid of his pal, an adorable yeti named Willump, you band together to travel through a mystical world. While the overarching story is a fitting premise for the journey, the real tale is the relationship between the two protagonists. There’s a sweet innocence that permeates their actions. Seeing them amid a snowball fight and supporting each other with tasks highlights the love and care that they have for one another. While their connection pre-exists, yours grows through the adventure and leads to the need to protect and guide them through the world.
A Touching Tale
There’s a lot of heart in the story and due to this, you quickly become absorbed. Rather than rely on traditional cutscenes, the majority of the narrative is told through the gameplay. Nuances in actions emphasize their bond. Seeing them give each other a high-five after getting past a hazardous area or Willump building a snowman of Nunu while you explore accentuates their friendship. These aspects are alluring and make their relationship feel real.
At its core, Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story is a puzzle platform adventure. You will move through linear and semi-open areas in order to reach your objective. Puzzles will halt your progress and require you to solve these with the help of your yeti. This often involves climbing and traversing the area to reach certain locations. In order to do so, Willump can support by lifting you to particular areas or even reaching the objective while you manipulate the environment. Teamwork is central to the game and luckily its implementation fosters a seamless experience. Relying on AI can be infuriating as often they can wander off and not go to the location you want, however, this is not the case in Song of Nunu. Willump is intelligent and moves to the correct area without user input.
As a competent musician, you can use your flute to solve puzzles you encounter. The implementation of the instrument is fantastic. Each shoulder button and combination of these performs a different note which has a visual representation of a symbol. When you come across these, you will need to perform the note in order to interact with the item. This continues to progress and at times you will need to play a series of notes at key points to overcome a barrier. Due to the methodical pacing and placement of the flute-based puzzles, you become proficient as a player and able to tackle more complex sequences.
Diverse and Delightful
Tequila Works ensures variety by introducing new gameplay sequences periodically throughout the experience. At times you’ll slide through a large ice tunnel avoiding spikes as you speed down and at other points, you’ll be running away from creatures in order to ensure safety. The number of little segments dotted throughout helps to make the game continue to feel fresh throughout the entire runtime.
Occasionally, Willump will place you on his shoulders which then allows you to control the yeti. With him, you can freeze water to hop across and climb walls with ease. Creatures will try to stop you on your journey resulting in arena-like segments that bookend puzzles and exploration. You can combine weak and heavy attacks to knock down foes and also evade oncoming strikes with a well-timed press of a button. When you wear down your opponent, you can unleash a tag team attack to knock out the opponent. The cinematic that you initiate is great and full of character. Seeing the characters work together with punches and snowballs further builds the bond between them. Unfortunately, the combat isn’t fluid as everything feels a little heavy. This creates an uninspiring system that is serviceable but lacks the quality of its other elements.
Performance is an issue on the Switch. Frame rate drops and pop-ins are commonplace and hinder what truly is a fantastic game. While these don’t cause any real issues, it’s an annoyance that persists throughout. It’s a shame as the visuals are wonderful. The Pixar-esque design spreads throughout to create an infectious whimsy. Each area you visit is packed with charm and results in a cozy world that you want to stay in.
Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story is a wonderful, whimsical adventure that manages to tell a touching story about friendship. While clearly part of the League of Legends franchise with its inclusion of key characters, you do not need any knowledge of the series to fall in love with this game. The well-designed puzzles and platforming segments are a joy and more than compensate for the lackluster combat. Even with performance issues on the Switch, Song of Nunu is a memorable tale that will leave a lasting impression.
***A Nintendo Switch key was provided by the publisher***
- The Relationship of Nunu and Willump
- Well-Designed Puzzles
- Lovely Art Direction
- Frame Rate Drops
- Textures Pop In
- Rigid Combat