I feel truly blessed to have my job. Being at Gamescom was a dream come true. I got to meet many people, meet some of my PR pals and fellow journalists in person for the first time, and, of course, play some fantastic games. There was no shortage of titles to play and booths to visit this year, and while I have great things to say about the games I got my hands on, there’s something extraordinary about Song of Nunu, the next game in the A League of Legends Story series.
For some, the fact that there’s a whole game about Nunu and Willump may come as a surprise, but when you hear why the developers chose them and what kind of game Song of Nunu is, it all makes sense in the most lovely of ways. I love that these best friends get to go on an adventure, and I especially love that I get to play as them. You see, I enjoyed a bit of League of Legends back in the day, but Nunu and Willump were never my go-to champions. The reason is I didn’t get a kick out of being the jungle prowler, yet I think the story of Nunu and Willump is quite stunning.
That’s a sentiment that the developers clearly share, for they chose to create a game about Nunu and Willump because it’s human. Just in case you’re not familiar with this loveable duo, let me give you a quick rundown. Nunu wanted to prove that he was a hero and to do this, he tried to do what many heroes of old are known for: slaying a beast. However, when Nunu found this monster, he discovered something wonderful – a friend who shares his love of snowballs. Willump is a magical yeti, but he isn’t a monster. He just needed a friend, someone to share that bond with, and he now has that thanks to Nunu.
Now, buckle in, for I’m about to tell you about what just might be one of the cutest, most chill, and wholesome games I’ve ever played. The demo begins with the titular character and his best friend in a snowy, mountainous area. From the second I entered the game, I felt chill and relaxed. Within seconds of walking through the luscious landscape, I discovered that these besties could engage in a snowball fight, and that’s just the first of many things these pals can do together. There’s something so special about watching a ten-year-old and his yeti friend be so carefree and joyful.
I could only throw snowballs around for so long, however, before it was time to jump on Willump’s shoulders and traverse the mountains. Yes, You very much control Willump when Nunu jumps aboard. Better still, you get to control both characters at the same time. A good example is when I came across a river and a small lake, I could throw ice balls with Nunu to freeze the water while walking across with Willump – teamwork makes the dream work, and these two are shining examples.
Though this adventure is mainly about Nunu and Willump having fun, there are still dangers lurking, and this is still in the League of Legends world, so you do need to dive into some combat. Honestly, it feels as smooth as butter and is a nice inclusion that offers a little break from all the exploring and wholesome goodness. Oh, and if you’re wondering whether or not any other champions show up, of course they do. What would a LoL story game be without them? We know that Braum and Volibear appear, but who knows who else Nunu and Willump are set to come across?
As the name of the game indicates, Nunu’s flute also plays a part as he’s writing his own song while on this journey to find his mum with his best friend. Oh god, my heart. It gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, especially as the devs included multiple notes for the flute. Do you remember how so many people tried to recreate their favorite songs on Ellie’s guitar in The Last of Us Part II? Well, prepare to see it all over again as players are sure to test that they can play with Nunu’s flute. The good folks at Tequila Works and Riot Forge certainly are.
This beautiful instrument also has a role in the gameplay, as sometimes you need to play specific notes to help you traverse the environment. Admittedly, the best thing about the flute is that when you try to play a song, Willump reacts to it. He did the most adorable dance for me during my time with the demo, but I’ve been informed that he has some humorous reactions if you don’t play well. Some of the developers like to play poorly on purpose just to get a rise out of Willump, so now I have to try when the game releases.
During my time with the demo, I could only explore a snowy biome, but there are others the friends must visit on their journey, too. One look at the trailer shows that the pair must leave the cold for extreme heat, as you can see Willump jumping across platforms on top of lava. If the beauty of the initial environment is anything to go by, Song of Nunu is set to blow us away in each area – though I sincerely hope they don’t start throwing fireballs at one another.
While the gameplay, environments, and exploration are all fantastic, those aren’t what draw me to this stunning game. Rather, the story and the two main characters lure me in. I feel many of us can relate to the meaning of the game in some capacity – it’s about friendship, family, and finding yourself. In the words of the devs, it’s a human story. It’s something that can and likely will touch your soul. You get to go on a wholesome journey in an immersive narrative game that clearly understands the characters and the title’s audience.
Another thing I can’t help but lavish praise on Song of Nunu for is the way in which you traverse the levels. Fun is at the center of everything, so why walk down a snowy hill when Nunu can slide down on top of Willump? It’s the little things that give me that cozy feeling. Better still, if you hit one too many obstacles on your way down, you respawn exactly where you left off, and the same can be said for wherever you are in the world. I certainly made good use of this mechanic as I continuously failed to make a jump, but instead of running back to where I was, I was already there.
Mechanics like that help to make the game accessible to all players. The youngsters don’t have to worry about losing progress, nor do the adults who are after a chill time. I played Song of Nunu on PC with a controller and found the controls perfect and simple to use, the combat isn’t too intense, yet scratches any itch you may have for a fight, and the world is so gorgeous that you wouldn’t mind even if the game did send you back 30 seconds up the road. In terms of performance, I can confirm PC players are in for a treat as there weren’t any hiccups, but I’ll be sure to fill you in on the Switch performance and controls when I can.
After about 20 minutes with these besties, I can already tell that Song of Nunu is my primary source of warmth for winter this year. From start to finish, I felt chill, fuzzy, and happy. The last point being the most important, this game is so wholesome that it induces happiness and love. Song of Nunu: A League of Legends story looks to be a must-play for not just LoL fans but also those who enjoy an immersive narrative with relatable characters. Don’t be surprised to see it on our list of the best cute games for Nintendo Switch and mobile.
If you want to know more about the other A League of Legends Story games, check out our Ruined King: A League of Legends Story Switch review and Convergence: A League of Legends Story Switch review.