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Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story

Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story

Written by Elliot Hilderbrand on 2/21/2024 for PC  
More On: Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story

Bandle Tale and League of Legends share many of the same characters but not much else. From the moment I began, I knew this was nothing like that competitive multiplayer online battle arena game that I don’t understand. I have a lot of issues with League of Legends, the biggest being the toxicity of the players and fans that surround the game. But like I do with League of Legends, I struggled to get into Bandle Tale. Gone are all the negative parts of League of Legends, but still, I found it hard to become invested in the world and characters of Bandle Tale.

You’re Yordle. He’s a fuzzy little creature who lives in Yarnville and has just completed his 100-year-long apprenticeship. It’s a good thing too, because you and a friend decide to hit up a party in Bandle City. The party doesn’t go as planned, your friend is shot through a random portal and now you need to find her.

While I felt the need to search for my missing friend, the urgency of everyone else around me was not shared. Yordle needs to grab his recently acquired backpack that doubles as your home and head out in search. But before I can do that I need to find a new home for the pair of cats that have moved in. Once I search out a new place for them, I begin to turn my house back into a backpack, but before I can do that I need to replace the missing button that allows me to transform my backpack.

As you may have guessed, buttons cost stars, a currency I don’t have. I ask my gramps to help me out, he suggests selling goods in order to have enough stars to buy the button. Well, I ask the chef in town how to cook food, hoping that he will show me how to make money. Instead, he has to first show me how to grow vegetables, the important step needed before selling them. Then I can learn to prepare the food I grew. Now armed with the knowledge, I can now turn the area in front of my backpack house into a makeshift restaurant. Good lord.

I spent my first hour with Bandle Tale in a lore dump haze, learning about the world of yarn and its inhabitants. Sprinkled throughout the dump are characters from League of Legends. From what I can tell, everyone who is in Bandle Tale and League of Legends maintains their character’s known ideology. Veigar, for example, who is called the master of evil, does do some evil stuff in game. Corki, who flies a plane in League of Legends, does indeed have a plane in Bandle Tale. Bandle City and its suburbs, like Yarnville, are interesting aesthetically but don’t provide much in terms of meaningful lore and insight. I like the areas, but I don’t really care about them. I didn’t become fed up with all the talking because by the second hour I’ve moved onto the next game mechanic.

The second hour was all fetch questing. Need one item, well, talk to this townsperson. They have the item but need you to find something for them first. You find that item, but it’s behind the fence of another townsperson. They want to teach you how to do something before they give it to you. And back and forth, and back and forth. It continued in this fashion for long enough that I became tired. Every new interaction comes with a pop up screen to teach you how to do this new task you have just learned. The explanations are detailed, and if it was one or two of them I would have been fine. But the same scenario plays out again and again. I learn to cut, cook and finally present a meal. Then I get a pop-up screen explaining how to do what I just did, again.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much about being taught how to perform every task multiple times. After finishing all my fetch questing, I’m told that I am ready to open up shop and serve guests. The only problem with that is that I'm now going from being told how to do everything twice to not being told how to open up the shop and sell my cooked goods at all. I become confused and frustrated when I can see in my top-down chores screen what I need to do, but have no idea how to go about doing it. I go from being over-shown to under-shown instantly.

Here’s the real issue I have with Bandle Tale. I never care. I don’t care if I don’t have enough food for everyone who shows up. I still get some stars, which is good enough. It’s been so long since my friend was shot out into the void that I forgot I was trying to find them to begin with. I don’t care about the inhabitants of Yarnville, a world of yarn doesn’t move my needle one bit. I don’t know if this is because I never had much of a League of Legends itch. There isn’t anything wrong with Bandle Tale as a game. It looks great, the music feels like it belongs, the mini-games are fun once I know how to participate. I just didn’t want to spend time playing. I was taking two or three days off in between playing and didn’t have any regrets. I think I never felt the draw to do more than what I needed to in order to advance the game.

I found the path of unlocking new abilities to be one of the bigger highlights. To unlock further down the trees you need to earn badges that correlate with what you are trying to further. Build up my house to have a dance party, or rebuild a bridge to adventure deeper into an area. I also found the system for leveling up to be unique, something I would love to see used in other farm sim style games. As you go about your day everything gives you experience, naturally. Some tasks, like farming, give you more or less experience than other tasks, like building a bridge. In order to interest you further into Bandle Tale you gain more experience for tasks you haven’t done as often.

As you gain the days experience, you fill purple bubbles on your screen, and going to bed at night gives you the experience and resets your experience bubbles back to zero so you can gain more the next day. You can choose to stay up all day but are limited to what you can earn experience-wise, so going to bed and saving your game is encouraged. On occasion, I found myself in deeper than I thought. Beginning one quest only to end up with ten more to complete before finishing the first isn’t something I am typically bothered by, but found it to be annoying in Bandle Tale. But deciding to save and turn my experience into points to upgrade my abilities was worth the effort.

Bandle Tale looks and feels nothing like League of Legends. With the exception of a few characters, you wouldn’t know the two games were as closely related as they are. Playing as Yordle from the town of Yarnville sounds exactly like something that would happen in a craft simulation game. A lot of the elements you expect to see are here. The gameplay mechanics and mini-game style elements are good and well crafted. The look and sounds of Bandle Tale are good too. It was everything else that feels too much. The constant explaining of how the world works, it’s not as exciting as it’s made to feel. The name dropping of characters, some of whom I didn’t know but knew there was importance didn’t help either. The quest style leans heavily on following mulitple step by step quests to finally achieve the original, initially simple sounding task. I didn’t miss Bandle Tale when I wasn’t playing, showing that indifference was my worst enemy when it came to this game.

It’s indifference that takes me out of Bandle Tale. I couldn’t get into the world building, I couldn’t get behind the constant back and forth running that quests have me doing. I never felt like I found my stride. The mini games - especially the cooking - was fun, something that would be excellent to play with a friend. But this single player crafting sim is too cute for its own good. Unlocking new abilities was fun, but the new abilities never felt game-changing, just another new chore to add to the rotation. If you are into League of Legends and want something that feels like a celebration of the cute characters of that game, Bandle Tale might satisfy you in the short term. But as the game spans upwards of 40 hours, I struggled to maintain interest.

Rating: 7 Average

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

I'm pulled towards anything that isn't driving or sports related; having said that, I love a good kart racer. I Can't get enough RPGs, and indies are always worth a look to me. The only other subject I pay any attention to is the NFL (go Colts!).

While writing about games is my favorite hobby, talking is a close second. That's why I podcast with my wife Tessa (it's called Tessa and Elliot Argue).

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