Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends, launched Riot Forge in 2019, an indie publishing label that would collaborate with prominent indie game developers to deliver unique new experiences set in its MOBA universe. Since then, we’ve got complicated rhythm games, detailed RPGs, and slick Metroidvanias, but the latest game to come out of the Forge stands out thanks to a strong dose of youthful amazement.
Tequila Works, best known for 2017’s Rime, is behind Song of Nunu. Even at first appearance, there’s a lot that connects these two games: just as Rime’s protagonist and his animal companion explored a secret island, the titular Nunu journeys with his buddy, Willump the Yeti, to unravel the mysteries of the frigid Freljord.
It’s a surprisingly pleasant sensation, belying Willump’s towering dominance above virtually everything else in this frozen planet. The League of Legends universe makes it apparent that the Freljord is a dangerous and merciless place, but Nunu and Willump have long made it clear that they’d want to reject that trend. As a result, the titular bard must collaborate with his yeti to navigate the cliffs, tunnels, and freezing lakes of this tundra in order to reunite Nunu with his mother.
. Some timed and platforming challenges appear to be quite basic, but Nunu’s magical flute adds a musical twist to the traditional perplexing formula. Following a brief introduction, it is up to you to remember how to play each note, which is inscribed in runes scraped all over the planet. A single note may open a distant door, while two in tandem may control individual platforms, but it’s not long before you’re presented with entire rhythms to piece together, the gradual muscle memory and careful combination of those runic symbols eerily similar to learning an actual musical instrument.