Leaving Lyndow is a very short first-person adventure experience that serves as a prelude to its upcoming, larger companion piece called Eastshade. Does it give players enough of a taste to get them interested?
Leaving Lyndow tells the extremely brief story of Clara as she prepares to depart her hometown on a dangerous sailing expedition. Before leaving, she has to pack her things, say her goodbyes to friends and family, and revisit a couple of places from her childhood.
That’s about it for the plot. There’s not much else to say as Leaving Lyndow is only about forty minutes long or up to an hour if you take your time to pick up and inspect every object. It’s an inexpensive game but as it lasts less time than a lot of demos, it still feels like a waste of money.
This is not Leaving Lyndow’s only problem, however. The worst aspect is its performance. As soon as you start, you’ll encounter a terrible frame rate and very noticeable screen tearing. This is more pronounced in some areas than others but it’s still a continual problem that severely hampers any enjoyment that you might otherwise have. There’s a fair bit of pop-in (and pop-out) as well in the outdoor areas and you can clip through some solid objects like tree trunks and tables.
It’s a shame because some areas of Leaving Lyndow look very pretty (as long as you’re not moving about too much). The most attractive is definitely the forest that you wander through after leaving your house. Unfortunately, like Lyndow’s other four areas, it’s very small and there isn’t much to do before you’ve exhausted everything and moved on.
On the other hand, the music is very appealing. It’s both relaxing and atmospheric and it can create some enchanting moments when combined with some of the prettier scenery. I also have to give Leaving Lyndow props for having a run button, something many other walking simulators would greatly benefit from. Sadly, seeing as the game’s playable area is so tiny, it’s rendered largely pointless.
Other than exploration, the gameplay consists of inspecting objects, talking to the frankly terrifying-looking residents of Lyndow, and playing a couple of mini-games. Most of the NPCs express sorrow that Clara is leaving and warn her about the danger of her voyage yet due to the campaign’s short duration, it’s hard to care that much about what’s going on. You have a few dialogue choices in some of these conversations but none of them have any effect on the story. Frankly, I think Clara is secretly glad to leave the town given how nightmarish its denizens are. Their misshapen features and awkward animations make them look more like assets from a survival horror title than a walking sim. The mini-games consist of activities like tapping on chimes and playing a weird form of basketball with an annoying child. They aren’t exactly thrilling but they at least inject some interactivity into proceedings.
Even at its budget price, Leaving Lyndow doesn’t offer enough content to make it worth buying. Furthermore, its awful technical problems ensure what is here is unenjoyable to play. If it was supposed to get me excited for its upcoming counterpart, it failed.
- + Nice music
- + Occasionally pretty graphics
- – Shorter than most demos
- – Loads of performance problems
- – Hard to care about the story when it’s over so quickly