Leaving Lyndow is a walking simulator that feels more like a demo from a much larger game. The premise is good, but the execution is severely lacking. There are hints of very interesting things here that I wish had been explored, but there is no real depth in its brief play time.
The main character is Clara, and this is her last day in town before she leaves on a three-year expedition. The game’s story consists of her saying goodbye to her family, friends, home, and even her childhood as she explores four different locations.
Whenever you leave one place, you can select your next place from a list. They are special to Clara, because of someone or something that happened there. Each one of them offers a mini-game or simple puzzle to solve that will trigger a memory for Clara or show her what she will be missing when she leaves.
Although you cannot interact with many of the objects in the world, there are also books, letters, and objects to pick up and examine. The letters will give you more backstory and a little more perspective on how other characters feel about your decision to leave. Some objects are accompanied with a short text telling you how Clara feels as well.
Overall, the graphics are a mixed bag. There is a part of the game in which you can look over a lake and see the sun, some mountains, and an enormous moon hanging in the sky next to a smaller sun. It looks nice. Unfortunately, the muddy textures and ugly character models are very distracting, and they would almost be creepy in other games. Everyone has a piece of fabric covering the lower part of their faces, and they have beady eyes without much clarity in their features. The music and sound are fine though, as it is mostly ambient sound with quieter instrumental pieces. It’s well-chosen for the game and fits the mood.
All of this would have been fine, except for the fact that Leaving Lyndow never does anything with the world it creates or tries to hit the player emotionally. There is an experience here that has some real potential with some interesting mysteries to uncover. I would love to go see the buildings outside the windows in the teahouse or understand more about what Clara hopes to accomplish with her trip.
I would love to have seen Leaving Lyndow expanded with more information about Clara’s thoughts and the significance of what she is doing. With a game that can be completed in less than an hour, the focus is pulled in a few different directions, but never ultimately pays off with any connection to Clara, Lyndow, or her journey.
In fairness, I must admit that this may be by design. Leaving Lyndow is intended to be a standalone prequel to the game Eastshade, and it may give me the satisfaction I struggled to find in Leaving Lyndow.
Leaving Lyndow is not a bad game, but, even at $3.99 (US), it is a mechanical experience, and it is hard for me to recommend.
Leaving Lyndow PS4 Review
Leaving Lyndow has a lot of promise, but it was unable to deliver in its brief playtime. Outside the character models, it never does anything offensive, but there was not enough depth in Clara or the world to keep me engaged.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.
Jason became terminally addicted to videogames after receiving the NES at an early age. This addiction grew to include PC gaming and was cemented with the launch of the PS2. From then on, he was afflicted with epic RPGs, tense shooters, and deep strategy games, never becoming skillful, but never able to quit. He continues to play games (poorly) and share his passion for them to anyone willing to listen.