Len’s Island Preview: Hack & Build


Len’s Island is an Early Access game that combines exploring Diablo’s hack and slash dungeons with building the Stardew Valley house.

Len Island is a dungeon exploration and simulation game developed and published by Flow Studios, which is in Early Access on Steam. It is still early for Len Island and the game lacks some features, but the current version holds great promise for the future, with its combination of hack & slash action as well as crafting and building for a fun game loop.

Len Island starts with the player naming their island, designing Len (the protagonist) using some base character creation options and being sent out into the world. Len begins on an island with nothing but a knife, a pickaxe, and an ax, with which to begin their adventure. The player can collect resources from the trees, plants and piles of stones that litter the island, which can then be used to build houses and farms. There is a nearby town, where the player can buy and sell goods, as well as customize their character and play mini-games. If the player gets tired of building, then they can venture into the dungeons under the island in search of items, where they will also find hordes of shadow monsters and the remains of an ancient civilization using the magic.

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The current version of Len Island lack of tutorial, so the player has to sort everything by himself. The game map is set, so if the player wants to start over, all of the main locations will be in one place. Len has a hunger meter that slowly depletes over time and will begin to drain health when he drains. Building the initial cabin with a bed and looking for food are the top priorities, and the player must gradually sort everything out from there. It’s not particularly intuitive, and Len Island could use some pointers (like the object of the backpack in the city being vital to improve the craft bench). This isn’t helped by the island and the dungeons being a bit too big (or Len moving a bit too slowly), which leads to quite a few aimless wanderings while trying to figure out what is what.


Len Island Town

The best aspect of Len Island is its builder mode, which allows players to easily create and upgrade houses while decorating them with items. The interface is exceptional which makes it easy to move up / down levels and place / remove items. Once some of the crafting tables have been unlocked, building a house on a Dream Island becomes a very real possibility. The building aspect is the strong point of Len Island and it will be even better once more coins are added to the game. Len Island is also commendable, as it makes exploring the island a calming experience.

It is possible (although difficult) to ignore the exploration aspect of the dungeons of Len Island, for those who just want to focus on the building. As it stands, in-game combat is basic and tied to how weapons work, rather than a skill system. The dungeons are a little too cavernous and the game badly needs a minimap to make exploration a little less tedious. There are also some jumping sections which are difficult to do, especially since the game currently lacks controller support. Overall, exploring dungeons is functional and provides some fun times, but it needs a bit of a tightening up before it can match the building part of the game. The overall experience is similar to that of Dragon Quest Builders 2except without the threat of the end of the world in its history.


Len Island Cave

There are certain aspects in which Len Island is currently lacking, and one of them is multiplayer. It’s a game that would greatly benefit from teaming up with friends to tackle dungeons, or allowing players to visit other people’s islands and see all they’ve built. The developers have said that cooperative multiplayer is on the cards, but it is not known when it will be added to the game. The other aspect where the game could be improved is that of the NPCs, as they have almost no role in it. the game outside of the base quest givers and vendors. Len Island would be greatly improved by Stardew Valley Style interactions with the inhabitants of the island, although this only unlocks new equipment. As it stands, the adventure on Len Island is lonely, which removes some of the incentive to engage in one’s world.

The Early Access version of Len Island has a lot of potential. The handcrafted aspect of the game is fantastic and there is a lot of fun in just building dream homes on the island. Fighting and exploring the dungeons takes a bit of work, but the game is still a few years away from full release. As it stands, the Early Access version is still a lot of fun to play and it’s worth exploring Len’s Island in its current state.

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Len Island is available now for Early Access on Steam. Screen Rant has been assigned a digital code for the purpose of this review.


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