Before I begin this spoiler-free Bandle Tale review detailing my first impressions, there’s something we need to get out of the way.

Take note — Bandle Tale is the very last Riot Forge game. Ever.

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At the end of January 2024, Riot Games streamlined its workforce and shifted its focus to four key games, League of Legends, Valorant, Wild Rift, and TFT.

The first two Riot Forge games, Ruined King and Hextech Mayhem, debuted in November 2021. Just over two years and three titles later, the Forge chapter closes.

What to expect from a Riot Forge and Lazy Bear Games

Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story screenshot and gameplay
Credit: Riot Games

If this is the first time you’ve heard of Riot Forge, Bandle Tale, or Lazy Bear Games there are a couple things you need to know.

The purpose of Riot Forge is to expand the League of Legends (LoL) universe. They partnered with experienced game developers to create games with completely different gameplay, art styles, and flavors, featuring a variety of characters from Runeterra.

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Including Bandle Tale, they’ve published a total of six games: Ruined King, Hextech Mayhem, Convergence, The Mageseeker, and Song of Nunu.

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Lazy Bear Games, an international game development studio based in Vilnius, Lithuania, uses their signature pixel art style — an apt choice, to bring the world of yordles to life, the focus of this Riot Forge title.

Bandle Tale review — first impressions by a veteran League of Legends player

Bandle Tale character customization screen
Credit: Riot Forge, Lazy Bear Games, screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

Bandle Tale is a crafting RPG, so if you like Minecraft, Terraria, and Stardew Valley, this game is up your alley.

The entire game uses pixel art style to depict the small but extremely detailed world of Yordles. Even your eye color, made up of two single pixels, can be customized.

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League of Legends players will further appreciate the cosmetic “Trail Effect”, which was first introduced to the MOBA in 2020 to show support for the LGBTQ+ community. When champions leave the fountain sprinting, the trail appears. The same thing happens when you sprint in Bandle Tale.

Yes, we really love rainbows coming out of our butts.

Screenshot of Bandle Tale food stand promotional video
Credit: Riot Games, screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

The meat of the game, of course, is centered around crafting. The missions and tasks you need to accomplish increases your level of crafting, which essentially turns you into a scout, where milestones are marked by badges. Like Teemo.

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There’s a skill tree with three branches, knitting, engineering, and nature. Besides going out there to gather materials, you’ll also spend a significant amount of time crafting at your Food Stand — so much that Riot even made an animated short about it.

If you end up playing this late into the night, it’ll definitely convince you to reach for that midnight snack.

Bandle Tale Food Stand built in-game
Credit: Riot Forge, Lazy Bear Games, screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

Easter eggs are everywhere, in the ingredients, recipes, the creatures you meet, and of course the League of Legends champions who show up blasting their trademark personalities that we know and love so well.

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You’ll notice from the get-go that Bandle Tale is heavily pictorial and minimalist. I had some difficulty remembering what’s what at first, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly. You can always click to view more details and click on hyperlinked text for more information.

I also wish I could, for example, manually prioritize sub-goals like Mineral Gathering, which is required to achieve the main mission.

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Like every other Riot Forge game, what you’ll appreciate the most is how much the Runeterra universe is expanded. Teemo is the poster yordle child of League of Legends. He’s made famous Bandle City and even appeared in Arcane.

This game however, starts you off in a much more hidden, secretive, and mysterious area in a community of yordles you’ve not met before where yarn is their lifeline. Immersion through intentional pixel art makes you feel the closet thing on how’s it like to live like a yordle when everything is larger than you.

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Of course, it’s also important to rely on your fellow “chibi-sized” friends and family for help when you need to.

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In total, it takes 40 to 60 hours to full complete the RPG, which is Riot Forge’s longest game yet, practically double in length compared to their first RPG, Ruined King.

Priced at US$24.99, you can purchase Bandle Tale on Steam.

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