Game: Leaving Lyndow
Developer: Eastshade Studios LLC
Publisher: Eastshade Studios LLC
Choosing between your dream career and staying with your family can seem like an impossible choice, but between stanzas of uncertainty and bittersweet flashbacks, Clara seems excited to get her sea legs. In Leaving Lyndow, Eastshade Studios’ prequel to upcoming open-world exploration game Eastshade, Clara is a junior marine researcher, a fresh recruit into the Guild of Scientific Exploration, and ultimately, what players should expect from this very brief walk in her shoes is a tale of growing up, letting go, and embracing the unknown.
All the environments, strikingly beautiful and hyper-realistic in their presentation, serve as a gentle reminder of what’s to come. Clara dives into the familiar, inspecting the house she’s grown up in, reminiscing in the past one last time: A photograph instead of her father, a love letter, the perfect vista of the sun’s rays gliding across the ocean. It’s difficult to describe Leaving Lyndow’s impact, because like Gone Home before it, each person’s journey will be different. There’s light puzzle solving, but rather than mastering a game mechanic the emphasis falls squarely on an emotional spectrum: Leaving Lyndow wants to connect with you. It wants to stir nostalgic feelings in a giant melting pot of fear, regret and joy, and its slow paced storyline gives players just enough time to reflect on their own lives, and analyse the choices they’ve made.
Even though the character art doesn’t reach the same standard of breathtaking that the backgrounds achieve, everyone has their own distinct personality, Lyndow’s lore is touched on frequently through exceptional writing, and the ambient melodies are just heavenly. The game suffers from very occasional crashes, and is a rather short playthrough, but by the time you’re ready to embark on your maiden voyage, none of that will really matter. Leaving Lyndow leaves you with that same sense of youthful wonder you feel right at the beginning of life’s various chapters, and is a strong, poetic introduction to the Eastshade universe.
A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.