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Rime devs say "you're going to cry" with their new League Of Legends game

"Hopefully for the right reasons," they say, when Song Of Nunu releases on November 1st

A young boy approaches a magical yeti with large horns in Song Of Nunu: A League Of Legends Story
Image credit: Riot Forge

Riot Forge have been quietly building up quite the catalogue of League Of Legends side story games over the last couple of years. In November 2021, they launched the double whammy of rhythm runner Hextech Mayhem and turn-based RPG Ruined King, and this year alone we've already had action RPG The Mageseeker and narrative platformer Conv/rgence. As you can probably tell, they're all focused on different genres, different League heroes, and have all come from different developers - and soon they'll be joined by Song Of Nunu, the next game from Rime developers Tequila Works.

I got to play a very small slice of it at Gamescom last month, and yep, if you've been craving another low stakes adventure that's all but guaranteed to wrench at your heartstrings and wibble your tear ducts, Song Of Nunu will almost certainly fill that Rime-shaped hole in your life when it comes to PC on November 1st.

A boy plays a flute next to a large blue yeti in Song Of Nunu: A League Of Legends Story
Image credit: Riot Forge

"If there's a vibe for the game, it's a big, warm hug," Riot Forge's creative director Rowan Parker tells me as I start getting to grips with budding boy warrior Nunu and his magical yeti friend Willump. As a pair, they instantly bring back memories of Rime's young protagonist and the golem-like creatures he encounters late on during his journey, but right from the off, Willump proves he's anything but slow and plodding. Indeed, after guiding Nunu toward a small rocky bridge, he automatically jumps up on Willump's back and the duo break out into a spirited jog, with a further gallop reserved for holding down Shift or pressing in your analogue stick.

"Most of the time you are playing with Nunu, but it would be a waste, and not very fun, if you couldn't just ride the yeti from time to time," Tequila Works CEO Raúl Rubio Munárriz adds with a laugh. And he's right. Willump certainly makes getting around the icy plains of the Freljord a lot easier, and Rubio Munárriz says there will be "more than just ice and snow" to navigate over the course of the game, teasing that some "iconic" locations from the world of League Of Legends will be making an appearance as well.

Until then, though, it's jumping, leaping and bounding across some introductory platforms and cliff faces. Eventually, a pack of wolves show up who aren't best pleased by this pair of interlopers, but with four great paws at his disposal, Willump makes for a very able fighter. Admittedly, combat is quite a simple affair, comprising of basic light and heavy attacks and a small dodge. There's some ice-powered flair on show during these scraps, but from what Rubio Munárriz and Parker tell me, it doesn't sound like fights will get much more complicated than this. There won't be any experience points to level up new skills and the like, and it all looks pretty forgiving in terms of difficulty.

A large yeti fights a wolf in Song Of Nunu: A League Of Legends Story
Image credit: Riot Forge

Of course, as with most of Tequila Works' games, combat isn't exactly the main focus. "It's not a Souls game," Rubio Munárriz chuckles, emphasising that one of their goals with Song Of Nunu was to keep it accessible to players of all skill levels, providing a relaxed and "chill" experience (no pun intended). He assures me that both its action and its platforming will still evolve in surprising ways as the game progresses, but this is ultimately a story about a boy looking for his mother, and not your classic 'quest to save the world' affair.

Case in point: the rest of my demo is spent clambering about the environment in typical 3D platformer fashion, sledding down long ice chutes on Willump's belly in high-speed slides, and using Willump's ice magic to freeze lakes and waterfalls to climb up to higher ground. At certain points, playing songs on Nunu's magic flute will also change the shape of the world around him, activating levitating platforms and other ancient machinery to help him on his journey.

A young boy plays a flute in a cave with a large winged monster inside it in Song Of Nunu: A League Of Legends Story
Image credit: Riot Forge

The flute is a particularly lovely addition. When you whip it out, you can play it like a real flute, Parker explains. It has a base of four playable notes that can be combined to make different sounds by holding down multiple keys, and each note is represented by a symbol that looks roughly like one corner of a square. Happily, the notes are arranged in a similarly angular fashion on your choice of controller (RTFG on keyboard, I believe, and ABXY on gamepad), making it an intuitive instrument to play fluently without constantly second guessing yourself. For puzzles, you'll naturally need to play specific notes in a set order, but you can also just noodle about on it for fun whenever you like.

A boy rides a yeti across a snowy landscape in Song Of Nunu: A League Of Legends Story
Image credit: Riot Forge

Willump, too, will clap and dance if you do a good job with your flute playing, and during more idle moments he'll draw on the walls, flump down on the ground and generally have a nose around - characteristics that Rubio Munárriz says were key to driving home that "Willump is not just an extension of the player."

"He's not just there to assist you," he continues. "He's a friend, and stretching that bond is super important." Parker concurs, adding: "We put so much work into having [Willump] feel like a living, breathing friend that you hang out with. He does things you can't necessarily predict, he shows emotion, he goes and interacts with the environment, you can just run up and hug him if you want to."

Alas, before I get to see more of Nunu and Willump's adventures, my demo comes to an end. It may have only been a 20-minute demo, but even this early section of the game looks very much like a return to form for the Rime team.

"All these characters, for me, they are the protagonists. They are all touched by loss. Now, how do you face it? That's the difference," Rubio Munárriz concludes. "Let's just say you're going to cry," he says with a smile. "Hopefully for the right reasons!"

For more of the latest news and previews from Gamescom 2023, head to our Gamescom 2023 hub. You can also find everything announced at Opening Night Live right here.

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