Coming right off The Mageseeker (which was quite good, by the way), I wondered if I’d be a little fatigued on more League of Legends spinoffs. It took me only a few minutes of seeing what Convergence: A League of Legends Story had to offer to see just how much of a vastly different flavor Double Stallion has assembled in this game. Between the complete shift in scenery to the sci-fi and steampunk trappings of Ekko and the city of Zaun and the mechanics that come with telling that story, it’s a high-quality offering to the action-platformer genre.
Life ain’t easy down here
Convergence takes players to Zaun: A city in the League of Legends universe where technology and science reign supreme, often untethered by morals or boundaries. It’s created many advancements in machinery, but it’s also created horrors and atrocities that fester in its underbelly. Ekko - the time-bending mage Champion from League of Legends - lives in this city as an urchin alongside his family and gang, just trying to get their hands on any valuable scrap they can get and survive each day as it comes. However, when a tower operated by the heirs of a rich industrial family explodes and rains debris down on Ekko’s neighborhood, he gets caught up in something big. It isn’t long that Ekko finds himself drawn into a race for a precious and volatile resource that could shake the very foundations of Zaun and its sister city, Piltover.
Right out of the gate, the art style is striking in Convergence. The game is a side-scrolling metroidvania action-platformer in the typical vein where players explore a massive, interconnected map and slowly discover tools that allow them to traverse otherwise unreachable places. As far as presentation, though, it’s smooth as silk and feels good to play. Double Stallion stylized Ekko, Zaun, and other League of Legends concepts alongside its original content, but the movement, environmental interactions, enemies, and allies all look and sound vibrant in this style.
The music is dang good, with themes accompanying each area of the game that provide both good background noise and add delightfully moody depth to the environments around you. In particular, there’s a jingle when you succeed at a puzzle or discover a secret that I came to appreciate and happily anticipate throughout the adventure. Even more impressive, the game is almost entirely voice-acted and everyone delivers their parts with solid quality, so Convergence ends up having that much more life to it as you play.
Precious seconds weaponized
For the uninitiated, Ekko’s abilities are almost entirely time-based. That specialization doesn’t just play a big role in the story. It also plays into Convergence’s action-platformer mechanics in a variety of fun and interesting ways. The most important tool at your disposal is a time reversal mechanic. At nearly any point of the game, if Ekko’s back is to the wall and you don’t like how the action is going, you can hold the time reversal button and push the world back by precious seconds to correct the moment and gain an advantageous position. Did you take a hit from an enemy melee or bullet? Reverse time and dodge. Did you miss a jump and plummet to the abyss? Reverse time and correct your course. It’s an incredibly important and dynamic feature that gives Convergence its own unique and interesting identity when it comes to the metroidvania space.
You can’t just use it with reckless abandon either. The time reversal mechanic is limited by a special energy resource and each individual instance in which you reverse time uses a stack of that energy. Run out of energy and you won’t be able to reverse time, meaning if you take damage or get caught in a pitfall at that point, Ekko actually gets dusted and it’s game over. Thankfully, the game is fairly liberal with checkpoints and, in most instances, you’ll just start from where you entered the area you’re exploring. Nonetheless, Convergence does its part to make time and knowledge precious weapons and makes sure they’re fun and easy to use without being overpowered.
There are other time-based gadgets and moves Ekko collects throughout the game that make it all the more fun. Eventually, you get a gadget that lets you deploy a time-slowing field. This not only allows you to slow down enemies and their projectiles in combat, but you can also keep flimsy platforms steady and slow industrial fans so you can pass through them. You also get gadgets to grind along rails, run along walls, and activate switches. In turn, the environments get to the point where they often ask you to utilize all of these movement and time-bending options in consecutive sequence. It feels great to pull off a string of varied platforming, but even if you fail, you can reverse time and fine-tune your approach.
The only part where the time mechanics feel like they mess with things is in the game’s aforementioned voice-acting. It can’t be easy to make sure dialogue and sound remains cohesive with a use-it-as-you-wish time mechanic in play, but I could count more than a few instances where a voice line doubled up, cut out, or otherwise glitched because I’d been shifting time as it happened.
While the characters, cameos, platforming, and time mechanics are all fun, I will also say that Convergence feels like it throws the same opponents at you a little too much. It does introduce a variety of threats you have to deal with, but then hours of combat in the game are just facing different compositions of those same enemy archetypes over and over. It was to the point where if I could skip combat with minor enemies, I would because they became tedious and distracting from everything cool going on in the game.
Make every second count
I had my doubts about two Riot Forge games coming out in such proximity to one another, but Riot Games is proving to be good at picking great developers to give new and interesting life to its League of Legends universe. Double Stallion didn’t just flesh out another corner of League of Legends lore with Convergence. It also built a metroidvania that I feel would be considered innovative and enjoyable whether it had the League of Legends name on it or not. I wish the enemies had more variety to them, and the time-shifting effects on voiced dialogue are sometimes very silly, but I would dare to say that whether you enjoy LoL or not, you’re in for a treat if you choose to spend time with this game.
This review is based on a digital PC copy supplied by the publisher. Convergence: A League of Legends Story is available now on Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
Convergence: A League of Legends Story
- Time mechanics are well-implemented & fun
- Art style gives vibrant color to LoL lore
- Music and voice-acting are well done
- Good cameos of known LoL characters
- Time mechanic sometimes glitches dialogue
- Enemy encounters are lacking in variety