It's always hard to leave home. It's a lesson I learned a few years ago when I moved down the East Coast from the hell pit known as New Jersey to the less hell pit-ish North Carolina. The idea behind Leaving Lyndow is basically the same. You're going to board a boat onto a dangerous, and three years long, journey. Before you can go, however, you need to say goodbye to your family and take care of a bit of personal business. Thus, Leaving Lyndow, a game about your last goodbye.
Taking place in the same world as adventure game Eastshade, Leaving Lyndow puts you in the role of Clara, a woman who is about to fulfill her dream. Clara has been accepted into the Guild of Maritime Exploration and will be leaving her home later today. However, before she leaves, she chooses to give one last look around her home. The game is all about this final goodbye, as you don't play out any time on the boat or in this allegedly dangerous journey. It's a quick personal story rather than an overarching epic.
In that sense, Leaving Lyndow does a fantastic job keeping you connected in the world. It's easy to feel for Clara and understand the position she's in. Talking to her supportive mother, doubtful uncle, upset lover, jealous friend, and more really gives an insight into the kind of person that Clara was. It helps that her home makes up a great little world, letting you see all the places that Clara got to hang out and catch up on the events that will be happening or has happened.
Leaving Lyndow, within moments, was able to strike a pretty great chord with me. I found myself remembering doing almost the exact same when I was moving. These little moments provide a lot for the game's world, and I found myself talking to every character and exploring every inch of the game's few environments so I could learn more. The writing is top-notch and really carries the game far.
It's not like there's much in the way of gameplay to do so. For the most part, all you do in Leaving Lyndow is walk around and talk to people. You can interact with a few things in the environment, mostly to learn more about them, but you're not going to be solving puzzles or fighting any enemies. The most gameplay elements involve playing a musical instrument or helping a kid find his lost toys, but these are little one-off activities. It took me 30 minutes to finish Leaving Lyndow, and most of it was just walking.
Doing these activities or not, Leaving Lyndow is always absolutely stunningly beautiful to look at. The game's environments are drop-dead gorgeous, and I easily lost time wandering around in the woods just trying to see what kind of vistas I could take pictures of. It makes sense why Leaving Lyndow's follow-up would focus so much on exactly that. A soundtrack occasionally cuts in for some of the more dramatic moments, and while it's nice, there's not much to be said about it.
Really, Leaving Lyndow is all about the personal drama that comes from leaving home, and it hits that mark excellently. If you ever have had to move far away, so far that people you've seen daily suddenly become a once a year visit, you'll likely see something of yourself in the events. Even if you haven't, it's still an emotional experience. Short and cheap, it's well worth dropping a couple of dollars on to get invested.
TechRaptor covered Leaving Lyndow on PC using a copy purchased by the player. The game is also available on PlayStation 4.