Review: Bandle Tale Gets Crafty in a Leisurely Way
Image via Lazy Bear Games and Riot Forge

Review: Bandle Tale Gets Crafty in a Leisurely Way 

I’m in a weird place with Bandle Tale, because while I really enjoyed taking some leisurely time crafting with cute Yordles in a cute, often rewarding game, it also comes knowing we don’t see this happen again. At least, not from Riot due to it killing off the creative Riot Forge branch. However, at least there’s the hope that developer Lazy Bear Games, which also made Graveyard Keeper, will keep working on these sorts of simulations.

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One reason this is all so sad is that Bandle Tale is incredibly accessible. You don’t need to know anything about League of Legends or its lore. There are Yordles. They’re fluffy folks. Some are knitters that craft and can use yarn to make things like homes, bridges, prosthetic limbs, and portals. There. You’re all caught up. 

Players’ Yordle is an entirely original character. Prior to the events of the game, they were a homebody. After their mentor Gramps knits them a new leg, they are suddenly given an opportunity to travel outside of their comfort zone. Upon doing so, they head to a party being thrown by the Yordle equivalent of an influencer named Ozzy with their friend Clover. However, Ozzy used faulty yarn during it, which shut down the whole Portal network and left Yordles lost and disconnected. The players’ avatar is able to return to their home island and sets out to start growing as a knitter, restore the portals, connect the Yordles, and find Clover again. 

It is an adventure that can feel like an RPG, given you’re gaining emotions from creating that can be applied to new skills and completing quests unlocks access to new parts of the trees. However, there’s no combat. It can feel like a simulation, as you’ll do things like run a food stall or throw parties and profit off of that. It can feel like it’s all about exploration, as you’re constantly gathering resources. I’d say the closest comparison I can think of offhand, if it helps, is to say Bandle Tale feels a little like Gust’s Atelier series, only with no combat. There’s the same gameplay loop of making things to fulfill quests for the community or yourself so you can acquire new types of things and make more types of items. 

This sort of experience might not be for everyone, for certain. Bandle Tale is very leisurely. A lot of your time is spent gathering, creating, and fulfilling certain needs. It can feel like a bit of a grind, though there are fairly frequent “rewards” in the forms of new recipes or goalposts to hit. What might hurt early on is the way it goes about things. Some of the tutorials don’t explain things well or at all, meaning you’re sort of left to your own devices when it comes to learning how to, say, start farming or gathering certain types of resources. It also can be easy to forget how to get to a certain type of item, since there are situations where you might need to go through multiple tiers of refining and crafting to get a component you need. 

If it is for you, like it very much was for me, it can all very quickly click together. This is also helped by the fact Bandle Tale is so personable. The writing is clever and fun. Characters’ personalities come through even in short encounters or brief snippets. The pixel art is also extraordinary. It’s pretty and intricate. It is the epitome of cozy. 

In truth, it makes me wonder if the fate of Riot Forge would have been different if we had seen more titles like Bandle Tale that were so approachable and required so little investment in League of Legends and its characters. It’s an ideal sort of introduction to an element of that world, as well as a fairly strong cozy game for people willing to be patient with it and take their time.

Bandle Tale is available for the Nintendo Switch and PC.

Bandle Tale

From Lazy Bear, the studio that brought you Graveyard Keeper, comes Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story. Jump into this delightful crafting RPG set in the magical world of Bandle City, home of the furry and fun-loving Yordles. Switch version reviewed. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes.

Bandle Tale isn’t for everyone, due to the grind and time it demands, but those who “get” it will have a great time reuniting the Yordle community.

Food for Thought:
  • Notable League of Legends characters like Tristana and Veigar show up, but you don’t need to know who they are ahead of playing and there’s sufficient in-game characterization to explain them.
  • If you find yourself stumped, check your skill tree, go to sleep to get the points needed to advance it, and see if learning a new ability gets you through a roadblock.

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Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.