At the heart of the walking-simulator, Leaving Lyndow carries the you through a short, yet blissful trek all while breathing a somber air of consolation. Within the short time you’ll be spending with the game, Leaving Lyndow tries so hard to make you breathe the same air; making cautious, yet unexplored steps, leading you into a bitter-sweet resolve. Although following it’s emotional journey may be a bit contrived, Leaving Lyndow makes the entire trip an elegant pleasure.
You’ll play a Clara, a student who has just been accepted to join an ocean expedition for ambiguous (yet ultimately irrelevant) research reasons. The application to join this expedition was rigorous, involving intense studying for trying exams. Clara has proven herself as the best of the best, and as a reward, she takes a three year-long boat trip. The game begins a few hours before the boat leaves her home.
Leaving Lyndow asks you to guide Clara as she says her goodbyes to the people and things she loves, as well as the only home she has ever known. For those who have ever left home, the relevancy of Leaving Lyndow is uncanny. Little touches like Clara’s mother reminding her to pack her sea-sickness medicine before she goes onto her voyage, or letters between family members begging Clara’s mother to stop her from leaving make the experience more authentic and and personal.
Gameplay in Leaving Lyndow is no as thorough as more explored games of the genre, but, within the context of the game, isn’t a problem. The nature of the game forces you to move quickly; you only have a short while to say your good-byes. The few areas only have a few things to do within them, none of which take very much time to complete. Some of the areas have mini-games, while others just have you talking to friends and family. It might seem like the features aren’t very inclusive, but it isn’t a sin in this game.
Leaving Lyndow’s worst sin is that it’s short lived. I wish that I could have spent just a bit more time in the beautifully crafted world. I felt like I was rushed frantically out of the door. I understand that the point of having the game short in order to carry its urgent theme, but there isn’t enough side content to back it. There are no collectibles of any sort, so there are few reasons to replay it, other than experiencing it again. For me, it was two one hour playthroughs and I was done.
Leaving Lyndow’s The small town of Lyndow is a gorgeous area to explore. The forest especially grasped my attention, with multicolored butterflies whisping through trees of varying color. There’s no environment that visually stood out or wasn’t incredibly pleasant. The citizen’s models are really the only caveat to an otherwise gorgeous game. Even on the highest settings, the game stayed at a solid framerate.
Although Leaving Lyndow feels as though it never really grew into itself before we said goodbye, it’s still a worthwhile journey. Taking an hour or two to play this emotional and personal story is worth it, and especially relatable for those who have left home.