League of Legends has a vast amount of lore that hasn’t been touched. After talking to Rowan Parker, Creative Director of Riot Forge, earlier in the year, we found that is one of the purposes of Riot Forge: To expand that lore showcasing specific characters and matching those characters with a gameplay style that matches their specific abilities and gifts. Enter Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story.
Nunu is a Notai child who travels with his best friend and adorably cute “last of the Yeti” named Willump. Nunu has the ability to throw snowballs and play the flute, neither of which do damage. You actually don’t really ever DO damage with Nunu, as, well, he’s a child. However, the same cannot be said for Willump who has the ability to wallop any enemy in his path with light and heavy attacks. He also has the ability to climb on walls (meant for climbing) and break ice (meant for breaking). The duo is deadly given Nunu can blow up environmental things while Willump is breaking faces.
Song of Nunu gives me old-school platforming vibes in the feeling of Spyro the Dragon and Crash, with hints of games like Banjo-Kazooie. It has an adorable art style that adds to the magic of the world. Lots of bright colors and fun animations lead to a game that is simply fun to look at. I found myself taking a moment in every new section to just look around and take in the environment. Plus, Nunu and Willump are simply adorable by themselves.
The narrative is pretty straightforward, but it’s one of those stories that keep you wanting to push forward. Your goal is to get Nunu to the Heart of the Blue as instructed by Nunu’s mother. Looking for the magical Wings on the Mountain. As Nunu and Willump progress, you meet some other characters from the League of Legends universe. However, I don’t want to spoil anything, so we’ll just let you be surprised when it happens.
Willump happens to be the crux of a lot of the “mini-games” in the game. They’re not truly “mini-games” but they happen once or twice throughout the story. The main one is introduced pretty early in the game, and is sledding. Nunu climbs on Willump’s back and uses him as a sled to slide down a mountain. During this time, you’ll need to concentrate on not crashing, using snowballs to break plant-pods to break walls, and more.
The platforming is smooth, and during my time with Song of Nunu, I never felt cheated during a puzzle. If I messed up, it was because I messed up, not because of any lag or anything else, which is nice in a platformer of this style. There was some slight clipping of objects in huge moments, but nothing that stopped gameplay or kept me from enjoying the game.
Something that I really loved was the way they handled Nunu’s musical abilities. Throughout the game you’ll have little icons on rocks, walls, or floating above an object. When Nunu plays these notes (on the Switch it uses LB, RB, LT, RT) you can do things like move rocks, open doors, and transition lights from ice to ice. It also does little songs during this which are cute and again, add to the magic of the story as a whole. My favorite scene with the music comes during the first “rest stop” of the game where Nunu and Willump make camp. Nunu plays the song that was written about Nunu and Willump. It’s really cute seeing the relationship between them without even seeing their backstory early in-game.
For being such a bright fun game, there are some darker moments and somber elements to the game as well. Anytime you’re playing as Nunu without Willump, it’s really easy to feel completely helpless. As I mentioned before, Nunu has no weapons past snowballs, so combat is a no-go. It’s run or be eaten. Along the lines of helplessness, you’re playing as a child, and see the heartbreak he goes through as the story progresses. It’s really well done and makes the growth Nunu goes through even more satisfying.
Speaking of music, Song of Nunu actually has a really cool music video that launched prior to the game’s launch. The song is called, “You and Me Makes Us” performed by DEEGAN. You can see the music video here and get a glimpse of the special relationship between Nunu and Willump before picking up the game yourself. Alongside that, the soundtrack is simply so much fun. I enjoyed the differences between each area of the game and while it wasn’t continuous, the developers knew where it was needed to be the most helpful to the game as a whole. You’ll love hearing this magical music. Never did I think that snowball fights could be so epic.
Snowball fight I said? YES! Another “mini-game” is snowball fights between Willump and Nunu. These are just a breath of fresh air in between areas of the game and usually start with Willump growling playfully and trash-talking Nunu. I never lost a snowball fight, but some of them got close. Again, another charming addition to the game.
I really enjoyed my time with Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story and loved getting to know Nunu and Willump. The music really took it to another level making each new area feel different while keeping a consistent theme. After Convergence: A League of Legends Story released earlier in the year with a completely different style, set of characters, and gameplay, we’re now seeing a perfect example of what Riot Forge’s goal is with Song of Nunu: showing off the lore of League of Legends through fun and different styles of games.
Adam is a musician and gamer who loves his partner in crime, Regan, and their two pets Rey and Finn. Adam is a fan of Star Wars, Mass Effect, NFL Football, and gaming in general. Follow Adam on Twitter @TheRexTano.
Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story
Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story is a magical adventure starring a sweet duo of characters. Nunu and Willump are a joy to get to know and love. With smooth platforming and great puzzles, this will be a game that any League of Legends fan will want to play. If you enjoyed old school platform/puzzle games, you’ll love this gem.