Riot Forge continues their expansion of the League of Legends universe with Song of Nunu: A League of Legends story. Developed by Tequila Works, Song of Nunu follows, you guessed it, Nunu on his adventure with his best pal Willump, the last Yeti.
Over the last few years, Riot has realized that people are interested in League of Legends characters, but they aren’t interested in actually playing League of Legends. After all, competitive MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Unique and creative stories with likable characters though? Those have a much larger audience.
Song of Nunu definitely fits into that latter category, with appearances from other well known characters from the series, which I won’t spoil here. You follow their journey through the Freljord, a beautifully crafted Norse-inspired landscape, as Nunu searches for his missing mother.
Storytelling is where Song of Nunu excels. It’s a heartwarming and overall cheery story that has a few somber moments but keeps the tone uplifting. As Nunu and Willump explore the frozen landscape, the camera will cinematically focus on beautiful landscapes and enchanting creatures, with a vibrant color palette. There are silly cutscenes that capture Nunu and Willump’s playful personalities, while showcasing their unbreakable bond.
The gameplay is a bit of a mixed bag. Nothing is bad per se, but many of the gameplay sequences feel a bit basic. The focus is definitely on the story aspect of the game, which I think is important to know going into the game.
Throughout Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story there are sequences where you take control of Nunu or Willump while Nunu rides his back. Nunu, being a tiny child, has limited combat ability in the sense that he has none. But he does have a killer arm for throwing snowballs and a mystical flute, both of which come into play for solving puzzles and progressing through the Freljord. When in control of Willump, you move faster, jump higher, and are a bit more capable when it comes to fighting.
The game chooses when you swap between the two, with Willump picking Nunu up or setting him down when it’s time to progress as the other. I will commend Song of Nunu for making those transitions fairly seamless. I never encountered any sections where swapping between the two felt drawn out or frustrating, which is always a concern with AI companions in puzzle-solving games.
That being said, the combat is fairly basic. Nunu only has a few combos made of light and heavy attacks. When enemies run out of health, there is a prompt to perform an execution which heals Willump. You can dodge, but I never really needed to. Even if you do “die” during a combat section, Nunu can still revive Willump without any penalty. The execution animations are varied and genuinely fun to watch through the first time around, but the combat overall becomes redundant by the end of the game.
They do add characters that Nunu needs to throw snowballs at to stun before Willump can deal damage, but it isn’t much and they aren’t sections I was very enthusiastic about when they came up.
The puzzles themselves never get to be too challenging. The majority of the game focuses on platforming sequences that are pretty forgiving. There are also sledding sections where Nunu rides downhill on Willump’s back, complete with jumps and exploding walls. But again, these aren’t really a challenge.
The musical moments are much more entertaining. I have always loved musical instruments in games (thanks Legend of Zelda), especially when those sequences have actual music that accompanies them upon completing the sequence. Song of Nunu has an absolutely beautiful soundtrack, and every piece of music that drops is a treat to listen to. Coupled with the gorgeous artwork, it makes the entire game incredibly pleasant to experience.
Oddly enough, the toughest sequences in the game are because of timing. One of the first music puzzles in the game felt oddly difficult because of how quickly you are expected to respond to things. It’s just strange because the hardest music puzzle is near the beginning of the game.
The story itself is very linear, only allowing a minor deviation at one point where you choose the sequence in which you do two tasks. About 5-7 hours is the amount of time you should budget to play through the entire game. There are some murals and poros hidden throughout the world. The murals add some background to the world and the poros are just adorable and you give them a cookie, so they are clearly the most important thing in the entire game. Frankly, the fact I went this long without mentioning them is a crime.
The gameplay is very forgiving and while many of the individual mechanics are fairly simplistic they do come together to create an enjoyable experience, even if Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story is not anything groundbreaking. That being said, the story, world building, characters, and sound design are where Song of Nunu excels. If you are looking to fill a day with a fun story with a vibrant backdrop and silly characters, then Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story is definitely worth picking up.