Of all the Champions in League of Legends, I’ve found Ekko to be one of the most interesting. The so-called “Boy Who Shattered Time” can rewind time and save himself from messy situations, thanks to a device powered by a strange crystal. On the one hand, Ekko is a brilliant inventor who sees potential and energy brimming throughout the wreckage in his home city, Zaun. However, he’s still a kid, enjoying the present while trying to make sense of his surroundings before the future can loom menacingly into his life.
Convergence: A League of Legends Story, developed by Double Stallion under the Riot Forge label, assumes some familiarity with Ekko’s backstory and doesn’t waste time with the set-up. Instead, it takes place in media res. A spire explodes in Zaun, and Ekko explores Estorol to ensure his friends are alright while fighting off various Chempunk gang members.
"Reed Shannon is great, as always, in portraying Ekko. His enthusiasm when discovering new technology, desire to invent new gadgets and loyalty to his friends are all very well delivered."
Upon venturing home, Ekko meets himself. Or rather, his future self. All grown-up, he’s seeking out Syntixi Crystals, created by the Poingdestres, a chembaron family that wants to use it for their nefarious purposes. As it turns out, the spire belonged to the Poingdestre and scattered Syntixi all over Zaun. Its explosive properties spell bad news, especially when left unchecked.
Ekko thus teams up with Future Ekko to collect the Syntixi and keep them out of the Poingdestre’s hands. Of course, Future Ekko has his secrets, and as the two work together, it becomes obvious that certain events have warped his thinking. It reflects one of the major themes of the title and Ekko’s life in general – that even with power over time, you can’t control everything, especially those you care about.
The narrative is backed by some solid dialogue and good voice acting. Reed Shannon is great, as always, in portraying Ekko. His enthusiasm when discovering new technology, desire to invent new gadgets and loyalty to his friends are all very well delivered. On the other end, Bumper Robinson does great as Future Ekko, showcasing a more mature and dignified but also cynical iteration of the time-looper.
Talents like Gilbert Glenn Brown and Leslie L. Miller, who portray Ekko’s parents, Wyeth and Inna, not to mention Dave B. Mitchell as Zarkon, Warwick and Corin Reveck, also do an exceptional job at bringing this diverse cast to life.
"As you unlock more traversal skills, previously inaccessible areas become available to explore. It’s not the largest-scale world for a Metroidvania title, but there are some useful things to discover."
Though I would have liked more context on Ekko’s life growing up in Zaun and the various factions like the Poingdestres and Clan Ferros, the plot does a decent job of filling in the blanks. Zaun is far from the ideal place to live, and it’s apparent enough when simply examining your environment and seeing how people get by.
At its heart, Convergence is a 2D action platformer with some Metroidvania elements. Ekko has the Glowing Bat, which he uses to fight with; the Zero Drive for rewinding time to a specific point; and the Timewinder, a disc-like projectile that hovers in place, dealing damage to a target before returning.
He can also initiate Chronobreak, a devastating attack at his afterimage’s location for immense damage to foes. As Ekko progresses through the story, he’ll pick up more tools that allow for grinding and hanging on rails, wall-running (with the walls in question helpfully marked), a short-range teleport called Phase Dive and slowing down time in specific spots with Parallel Convergence.
Though they start simple, levels will quickly demand you to use these tools rapidly to succeed. It all flows well, as you grind above and below obstacles, wall-run to throw the Timewinder into a slot to activate a platform and kick off walls to reach further heights. As you unlock more traversal skills, previously inaccessible areas become available to explore. It’s not the largest-scale world for a Metroidvania title, but there are some useful things to discover.
"If rushing a group of enemies after throwing the Timewinder doesn’t work, how about slowing down time in an area, teleporting to a foe to kill them quickly and then picking the rest apart?"
You can find Rare Parts for crafting gadgets (which give Ekko certain perks, like longer rewind times) or run after some bots holding Artifacts, which can be traded to Ekko’s friend, Akimander, for more Zero Drive Charges and other rewards. These sections are almost like speed-running challenges since you need to master the route taken and complete it before the bot can escape.
Certain chests also hold cosmetic options to customize Ekko’s outfits and trails and look sleek. You can also find Cogs and spend them to learn new skills from Rungs, like charged attacks for the Glowing Bat and Timewinder, downward stabs, a parry (which can be a bit finicky since it’s tied to dodge) and more.
The Zero Drive is helpful as a “get out of jail free” card, regardless of whether you’re platforming or fighting. You can rewind when falling to your death or taking damage, but there’s a limit to how far and whether you have charges. This fantasy is most apparent in combat. Ekko hacks and slashes foes with the Glowing Bat, and any damage taken is healed by rewinding.
It also helps encourage a different approach to the redo. If rushing a group of enemies after throwing the Timewinder doesn’t work, how about slowing down time in an area, teleporting to a foe to kill them quickly and then picking the rest apart?
"Of course, you also have boss fights where the combat truly shines. You’ll face off against the likes of the Poingdestres, Warwick, and more, each having unique patterns and mechanics."
When it all comes together, the combat in Convergence can feel tight, and the controls are very responsive. However, some encounters can feel a bit cluttered. Dealing with multiple projectiles, enemies that rush you, and undodgeable attacks can feel a bit haphazard, as you rewind to figure out the best approach.
Not every combat situation will throw enemies at you in a room – some feature multiple elevations, allowing you to drop down or teleport up while fighting. One features a conveyor belt with a smasher, while another sees the roof slowly coming down, limiting your mobility. These work surprisingly and help freshen up the challenge. Enemy variety is good enough, as you face Chempunk bruisers, flying drones, and spiky creatures. They don’t stick out for their inventiveness, but they look good and get the job done.
Of course, you also have boss fights where the combat truly shines. You’ll face off against the likes of the Poingdestres, Warwick, and more, each having unique patterns and mechanics. They also require using a recently gained ability. Zarkhon’s projectiles must be slowed to avoid them, especially when he rains multiple down, while you have to teleport through obstacles to reach Warwick and avoid his attacks. They’re fun, unique and well-designed while keeping their League of Legends origins in mind.
"While fans may appreciate it more, even those who never got into the MOBA or swept up in the Arcane craze will find plenty to enjoy in Convergence."
All the exploration through Zaun and its various districts helps highlight just how gorgeous Convergence looks. It uses an animated art style akin to comic books. Shadows are deeply shaded (which comes into play during one level, while colors are lovingly varied and pop vividly. The backgrounds in each district are incredibly rich and help bring Zaun to life in crudely beautiful detail.
Animations are on point and sleek, and while I would have liked cutscenes more akin to those from the trailers, the current ones – essentially animated still images – work well enough.
Convergence: A League of Legends Story doesn’t reinvent the wheel for Metroidvania titles or action platformers. However, it delivers a compelling adventure with good combat (some frustrating encounters aside), fun time travel and traversal mechanics, a solid narrative, gorgeous environments, and well-realized characters.
Like The Mageseeker, it’s not very long but doesn’t bog you down with filler and arguably has better pacing. While fans may appreciate it more, even those who never got into the MOBA or swept up in the Arcane craze will find plenty to enjoy in Convergence.
This game was reviewed on PC.
Comic book-style aesthetic lends itself well to the action and looks sharp throughout. Time-winding mechanics and combat feel responsive, while side content provides fun diversions. Well-designed bosses. A solid narrative with good voice-acting all around.
Combat can get a bit messy on some occasions, especially in some of the more packed rooms. Certain enemies feel generic. Having more context on Ekko's backstory from the start would have been nice.