Len’s Island – Preview
Follow Genre: Sandbox, Adventure
Developer: Flow Studio
Publisher: Flow Studio
Platforms: PC
Tested on: PC

Len’s Island – Preview

Good: Great foundations
Bad: Missing content
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Open world sandboxes have been in vogue in the gaming industry for a while. Each year a handful of new titles fitting these tags are released, with a certain few such as Valheim becoming extremely popular for a while. Len’s Island is one of such releases, bringing players the isometric world of its idyllic island. Currently in Early Access, the game is setting itself to contain lots of mechanics and depth, although those haven’t quite arrived yet. Here is what it has to offer right now.

Len’s Island opens up with a character creator for the titular protagonist, Len. After selecting from a handful of customization options, players will immediately be thrown into the world, with nothing but a few tools and tutorial screens. While the game lacks a concrete story, players will be able to find snippets of lore spread out throughout the island, providing details about its backstory and the events that occurred on it.

The game’s graphics are made up of a colorful 3D art style. At the moment, the game only features three unique areas, these being the dungeon, a town, and the island itself. Despite this lack of variation, each of the areas is uniquely different from the others in its design. Alongside this, the game also includes a decent amount of NPCs in the town, although only a few of them remain memorable, due to their lack of interaction and details.

Besides this, Len’s Island sound design is also quite good, thanks to its relaxing tracks and ambient SFX. These accompany the player at all times and match the calm thematic of the game as a whole, enhancing the overall experience. That said, neither of these components is particularly special, they just serve their purpose but never end up becoming particularly striking.

Similar to its genre companions, Len’s Island’s core gameplay loop sees the player foraging for materials throughout the island in order to create tools and structures. These materials are currently limited to a handful of types, most being easily obtainable without much exploration in the overworld. Additionally, by visiting the town, players will be able to trade these materials for money, which is used to purchase items or different materials. Once resources are obtained, they’re immediately stored in the player’s backpack until it caps out, with each material having a different max limit. Opposite to this, the inventory slots for equipment are shared by whichever tools players decide to carry alongside consumable items, with the initial maximum being a laughable 4 slots.

In order to harvest resources, players will have to hit them with whichever tool is pertinent to them, such as axes for trees or pickaxes for rocks. All of the tools and weapons have several damage types that will affect their effectiveness while gathering and in combat. A simple example of this would be how battleaxes may also be used to gather lumber, thanks to their proficiency in “axe” damage. The same can also be applied to hammers and rocks.

Sadly, the game fumbles in the scaling of said damage. Tools oriented towards harvesting barely provide bonuses over combat ones, making them much worse than the alternative due to the limited inventory slots. Another issue with damage calculations comes with the critical strike system, which requires players to click in time to achieve these critical strikes. While it may be simple enough while harvesting, actively clicking in time while evading enemies is much harder, making this system incredibly inefficient due to how little damage it actually adds to the hit.

Besides normal attacks and critical strikes, players will also have other abilities in combat depending on their weapons. For example, some swords feature unique moves on a cooldown, adding buffs or different effects to the strike. Additionally, players also have the ability to dodge-roll, gaining invincibility frames and moving out of harm’s way.

One of the game’s largest shortcomings comes with its current healing system. Alongside their health bar, players also have a secondary hunger meter, which will slowly deplete while healing them up. Should this meter run empty, players will also lose health each second, until they reach half their total. In order to keep this hunger meter up, players will have to consume berries and crops obtained from planting or gathering. However, these also double as instant healing items, with common and plantable ones only replenishing small amounts of health, and thus depleting rather quickly. Besides this, the only other options players will have to heal up is standing near a furnace or brazier, both of which require fuel to burn. On top of that, their presence is limited to those built by the player or the few scattered in dungeons.

Other than furnaces, players will also be able to build a wide variety of structures with their gathered materials. In order to do so, they’ll first need to place a foundation upon which other parts may be constructed. The building system as a whole features a well-designed UI, with mostly intuitive controls and good amounts of freedom. That being said, the interactivity with the items placed remains lackluster in the current version, as only a handful of structures are actively usable.

Conclusion

Len’s Island is shaping up to be a great game once it is complete. All the building blocks are there at the moment, but much is left to be improved. The simplest example for this would be the dungeons, currently limited to being little more than quarries for the two existing ores and monster slaughtering grounds. Those who enjoy sandboxes without an ultimate goal will most definitely like Len’s Island, although waiting for it to be more complete is recommendable, especially at its current £19.49/$24.99/€20,99 price.

Personal Opinion

“I’ve enjoyed my time with Len’s Island, although I didn’t spend as much time with it as someone more interested in building elaborate houses might. Instead, my focus was placed on engaging with the harvesting and combat mechanics, which are rather good but still need polishing. The current mechanics are a tad too “wack the thing till it drops”. My only real qualm with the game is something that will eventually be resolved by the developers, this being the lack of things to do. Besides building a house, harvesting the overworld materials, or going into the dungeons, there is nothing else to be done. Sure, I could spend my time playing blackjack against one of the NPCs in town, but at that point, I might as well do it on some random website.”

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Len's Island - Preview, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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