Len’s Island is a brand new Aussie game looking to refresh the classic island survival genre. As a new arrival on a mostly deserted island, the world will be your oyster. Using tools, weapons and your environment, you’ll be sent on a daring quest to carve out a peaceful life and discover the secrets of your new home.
Combat, quest progression and dungeon exploration all play a big part of the Len’s Island‘s gameplay, but so does building, decorating and painting. The balance between the two is key.
With shades of Sims Castaway, Minecraft and Stardew Valley, there’s plenty here to get excited about. While the game is still far away from its planned May 2021 release date, we’ve already seen some tantalising (and very tropical) details from the game’s Kickstarter campaign.
To find out more about the game and its Aussie development team, Kotaku Australia chatted with Flow Studio founder and game developer Julian Ball.
“It clashes two big genres together that I’ve always [loved],” Ball said over the phone. “I love craft and building games like Stardew Valley and Minecraft … where it’s almost therapeutic getting away from reality, but then there’s also games with a bit more of a fighting base — dungeon crawler games like Diablo. Whenever I play either one of those types, I always miss out on the other side.”
Len’s Island aims to combine elements of both dungeon crawling and life simulators with building, farming and exploration mechanics being joined by dungeon battling, “deep” questing and a robust combat system.
While combat and exploration will play a huge part of Len’s Island‘s story and gameplay, Ball told Kotaku Australia the crux of the game is more about carving out your new life in any way you’d like whether you’re more into combat or relaxation.
“At the end of the day, you have this world that you can actually build a home in and create … a place to come back to and track your progression,” he explained. “You can choose what you want to spend your time doing, if you want to … fight stuff you can but if you just want to spend hours just running around islands and chopping down trees, building, farming and exploring, you can — and you get just as much reward out of it.”
The Sims, Minecraft, Stardew Valley and Rust have all influenced development. Ball told Kotaku Australia he aimed to distil everything he loved about these games into Len’s Island.
“A lot of games developer’s games tend to be a culmination of the things you like in games and then adding on top of that the things you felt the games didn’t have.”
Development on Len’s Island is currently taking place across Brisbane and Norway. Flow Studio is currently a three man team with developers Martin Tapia-Vergara and Julian Ball working out of Brisbane and music composer and SFX artist Lars Erik Fjøsne hailing from Norway.
The game began life as a solo project for Ball, who started out in the graphic design and digital art realm. His interest in gaming soon led to a second career in games development after he was poached for a games job just two weeks into studying his master’s degree.
As he continued to work on his games development skills, he began experimenting with prototypes.
This work ultimately evolved into Len’s Island, a game combining everything he and his team have learned (and loved) about games.
As work continues on Len’s Island, the Flow Studio team has turned to Kickstarter to gauge support for the game and cover development costs. “It’s really expensive to make games,” Ball told Kotaku Australia jokingly.
“We’ll be able to make the game that much better with [crowdfunding] … We’ll be able to make a more polished game with more features.”
Features outlined in the Kickstarter include pets, character customisation, releasing on the Switch and other consoles, co-op multiplayer and more dungeon levels. These features will be unlocked as the Kickstarter campaign progresses.
As of writing, the Len’s Island Kickstarter is over the halfway mark, sitting at $23,825 of its $33,400 goal. “We couldn’t be more thankful for the support,” Ball said.
Len’s Island looks set to be a fantastical adventure when it finally releases. For those who love life sims, the quiet calm of Stardew Valley or even the robust dungeon crawling combat of Diablo, this is one Aussie game to watch.
Len’s Island will be on Kickstarter until the morning of August 24. The minimum pledge for a copy of the game is $39, with all backers getting access to the launch demo in late August. Until then, you can also wishlist the game on Steam.