Leaving Lyndow is a game about leaving home for a dangerous voyage across the sea. Not put-off by the obvious discomfort ahead, but enthused by the thrill of adventure and curiosity.
Packing bags in nervous excitement, traveling far away from most of our friends and family. Many of us have been there, albeit in the much less harsh capacity of going to university or moving home. However with the constant communication available in this day and age, it’s hard trying to imagine leaving everyone you know with only letters for future communication.
You can picture the mixture of excitement and tension, beloved family members equally proud and worried, convincing you to stay or encouraging you to follow your dreams. Eastshade Studios try to capture these feelings by walking you through the final day you leave home.
You start in your bedroom as Clara, packing the last of your things and progressing through a number of key locations. Each location giving you a back-story of your memories, and allowing you to say your goodbyes to a number of your friends. You’ll also stumble across a few simple but satisfying puzzles, and some fun mini-games.
Reading notes also gives you an insight into the thoughts of your family members, wishing you well or condemning your decision. I was expecting to do a fair amount of note-reading when I started playing Leaving Lyndow, but fortunately most of the storytelling is done through short memos displayed on-screen and subtle aspects of the environment.
You are always moving onward, presented with new people to speak to and new environments to explore. Never did I find myself getting bored or frustrated with a location. This is helped by purposefully making the puzzles incredibly easy. This is welcomed too, Leaving Lyndow isn’t supposed to be a puzzle game, they are more of a means to pace the exploration.
Conversations with the numerous characters are short and to-the-point, but they are written in such a way as to not feel robotic. Everyone has their concerns and parting words of wisdom for your journey. There is a brilliant mundane realism about it, and I mean that in the best of ways.
There are no ridiculous extremes or evil villains here, you can tell Clara has been planning this voyage for the majority of her life. This has been a long time coming, some people have accepted it and others simply can’t handle it. It also brings up some fascinating questions of when do we let our children make decisions for themselves, and how much do our dreams really live up to the reality.
Living Lyndow is truly a lovely little microcosm. However I can’t help but think it falls short in a few areas. You are only given a handful of small places to explore, and while they are beautiful and packed with things to look at, I found it hard to feel a strong sense of place. An open area with less direction may have solved this problem. There’s also a weird compatibility issue with being introduced to a character for the first time while simultaneously saying goodbye to them. Fortunately the interactions are kept simple, so you never feel too detached.
I’m very biased when it comes to games that can be finished in one sitting. I love the fact they are all wrapped up in a cosy package and you can hardly complain with Leaving Lyndow at such a low price. There are quite a few satisfying surprises to be discovered here, and hopefully by now you will know if Leaving Lyndow is for you or not. It’s certainly got me very inspired to play Eastshade Studios’ future game: Eastshade. With a much more open world, it’s set to solve many of the problems I had with Leaving Lyndow.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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