We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story review – in a League of its own

In our Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story review, we travel through the portal to Bandle City to take a shy knitter on the adventure of a lifetime.

Bandle Tale review: Tristana and Yuumi outlined in white and pasted on a screenshot from Bandle Tale of some waterfalls

Our Verdict

Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story succeeds in bringing one of Runeterra’s “least developed parts” to life in a charming, vibrant, and cozy package that’s suited to both long-time LoL fans and newcomers alike.

At this point, there have been enough Riot Forge games for me to know that you don’t need any prior knowledge of League of Legends to get stuck in. That being said, despite playing a little bit of the MOBA in my teens and enjoying Arcane, my knowledge of Yordles is extremely limited.

Or, at least it was until I started playing the latest Riot Forge entry, Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story. Brought to you by Lazy Bear Games of Graveyard Keeper fame, Bandle Tale is a vibrant, cozy crafting RPG set in Bandle City, the home of the Yordles. These fun-loving spirits mostly stick to their own realm, but a few of them such as Veigar, Teemo, and Tristana have ventured out into Runeterra and fought alongside other notable LoL champions.

I’ve heard this game pitched as “League of Legends’ answer to Stardew Valley” and while they certainly share similarities in graphical style and aspects of gameplay, I’ve found that Bandle Tale is filled with infinitely more magic and whimsy. I’ve never really clicked with Stardew when I’ve played in the past, but I find every element of Bandle Tale delightful.

You play as a shy knitter Yordle from Yarnville who’s just finishing up their 101-year knitting apprenticeship with an elder named Gramps. You finally attend a legendary party in Bandle Center with your best friend after leading a fairly isolated life dedicated to studying your craft, and everything takes a turn for the worse. In a magical disaster, all of the portals connecting the various islands of Bandle City break, and you lose your best friend in the process.

Bandle Tale review: A screenshot of the post office by the Unity Tree in Bandle City

Only skilled knitter Yordles are qualified to fix Bandle City’s portals, so, of course, you leave your small-town life behind and set out on a quest to see the world while saving it in the process. This all feels quite dramatic for a game that is, in the minute-to-minute gameplay, quite chilled out and relaxing. You spend most of your time wandering the beautiful, isometric pixel environments, gathering resources, crafting, and speaking to the locals.

Everything feels so alive, particularly the characters. Understandably, a Riot Forge game dedicated to expanding LoL’s lore is going to focus a lot of energy on interactions with existing Yordle champions, but the main and side quests involving other NPCs feel just as well crafted and charming. The art students at Bandle University especially crack me up.

If you’re familiar with League of Legends’ Yordle champions, you’ll know that these adorable spirits can come in a huge range of shapes and colors, and Bandle Tale’s character creator reflects this. I squealed with joy when I first opened up the game and got to work making my little fluffy avatar, choosing their hair color, fur color, ear type, and what kind of trail they leave behind when they sprint. You can also choose they/them pronouns for your Yordle, which is always a plus in my book. I’m glad these ethereal beings have moved past the gender binary.

Bandle Tale review: A screenshot of the character creation screen showing a light brown yordle with tall, pointy ears, blue hair, and a pink shirt. The menu shows that they use they/them pronouns and have a rainbow-coloured trail

A small detail about your character that I noticed at the very beginning of the story is that they have a physical disability. It’s unclear whether they’re missing a leg entirely, or if they’ve sustained an injury, but Gramps gifts them a knitted leg which lets them sprint and based on the dialogue, gives your character a lot more independence than they’ve previously had. Mechanically, this knitted leg is a way to explain away upgrades to your movement speed, but the addition of a magical mobility aid didn’t go unnoticed by me, so I’m sure other disabled gamers will also feel seen in this moment.

Bandle Tale offers so many activities to explore, all contained in a vibrant and cozy environment that’s almost too easy to spend hours of your day inside. You can increase your crafting skills via various skill trees, converting the emotions you collect throughout the day into skill points, or you can grind for currency selling home-cooked meals to your peers. If you’re a fan of cosmetics, complete side quests to unlock champion-themed homewares and deliver lectures at the university for a whole wardrobe of special hats. Oh, and of course, you can fish!

The true driving force of Bandle Tale’s plot lies in the party-planning mechanic, but this is one of those games where there’s absolutely no rush to progress the plot if you don’t want to, especially given how much side content there is. The parties are a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong, but they’re by no means the be-all and end-all of Bandle Tale.

Bandle Tale review: A screenshot of the player finishing a quest about holding a food stall

When it comes to my earlier point about League of Legends knowledge and Riot Forge games, I would say that of all the titles out there so far, Bandle Tale requires the least amount of game knowledge thanks to its setting. Bandle City exists outside of Runeterra and while you do interact with LoL champions, they’re all yordles as well. No knowledge of the politics of Bilgewater and Piltover is assumed or required to have a grand old time amongst these furry friends.

Overall, I think Bandle Tale is an incredibly heartfelt, cozy, and welcoming crafting game, with stunning visuals, witty storytelling, and tons of secrets to explore. Whether you love Stardew Valley but want a little more magic in your mulch, or you’re a hardcore League of Legends fan wanting to know more about your favorite champion’s heritage, make sure you give this game a go.

While you’re here, make sure you check out our list of League of Legends games to see what else Runeterra has to offer. Or, if you’re interested in Riot Forge’s other titles, read our Ruined King: A League of Legends Story Switch review, Convergence: A League of Legends Story Switch review, and our Song of Nunu review.