Haven Review

Introduction

Haven is an adventure game that was developed and published by indie studio The Game Bakers. It was released in 2020 for PC and Consoles.

Review

Love is a wonderful thing. It can bring out the best in a person, and you can find yourself doing wacky things with a partner. Like watching terrible movies all night. Or planning absolutely corny Halloween costumes. Or running awake from your home planet and crash landing on another planet where hopefully no one will ever find you and you can live happily ever after!

This is what Yu and Kay have done. They have landed on a mysterious broken planet known as Source. They ran away from the “Apiary”, where they weren’t happy in the slightest. Not only were they no longer allowed to see each other and love each other, but they were being forced into marrying the people that the “Matchmaker” found for them. In this crazy world, your life isn’t your own, and you’re not allowed to love just anyone!

The characters and their dialogue are what kept me going in this game. Seeing Yu and Kay grow their relationship, plus learning about their past was so exciting. Figuring out what they used to do on the Apiary. Hearing about the joys they had as kids with each other. I loved it. The dialogue is well written and even had me laughing sometimes. I didn’t expect it to get so filthy sometimes though. At one point the characters were laying in bed and talking about…things. What turned out to be a normal story, quickly turned into talking about taking clothes off and erections.

The game actually has multiple endings to it as well. One of them was amazing and thrilling and exciting. Where the other…well it just sort of ends up being incredibly sad. It’s easy to get the endings, as it’s a very noticeable choice you get to make. Apparently there is a secret ending though, and some very specific requirements for it. I never tried looking deep into it, or going on YouTube for it. But maybe one day I will!

As for the gameplay, well this is where the game lost me. A lot. I knew the game was meant to be an RPG, but turns out it’s not the kind of RPG I expected. Even the in between was not what I was expecting. As you explore Source, you don’t just walk around hallways. In fact, you don’t run at all. Instead you dash around with your rocket powered boots. But even the fuel for these isn’t infinite. You have to find specific things to basically grind on, called “Flow Lines”. As you progress around Source, you’ll find there’s each area is covered in red stuff that you can choose to get rid of or just skip. This is “The Rust”. What is it? Well who knows, but it is indigenous to Source. If you do get rid of it, you can at least fast travel to the area, later on. But even just zooming around the areas didn’t feel fun. But at least they were pretty, and when the music starts going, it is very beautiful.

As you’re blazing through each area, you’ll also have to keep an eye out for ingredients. Whether it’s fruit roots, or little mushrooms on the sides of mountains. These are then used for a variety of things. Whether it’s to cook dinners to increase your relationship level, or make healing items for battles, you’ll need to have items on hand. This was kind of annoying later on in the game, as some items were hard to find. As once you harvest an item, you actually have to wait for it to respawn. Not a simple “exit the area, and come back, and it’ll be back”.

As for the RPG portion of the game, this disappointed me a lot. It’s such a basic system. The game doesn’t stop for anything and all you do is either shoot an energy blast, or melee the enemies. You can do a super attack if you make the characters do the same attack, as each is controlled with each stick. As you defeat the enemies, you then have to “pacify” them, which then turns them into a normal creature. But if you don’t do it fast enough, the enemy gets some health back and you have to do it all again. This was a pain, especially when a big enemy would blow the characters off the screen, and I’d have to wait for them to come back. What was probably the worst part is that I couldn’t prioritize enemies. The game would just randomly choose what enemies to attack. 

There is a levelling system, sort of. As you see scenes at your house, or defeat enemies in battle, your relationship level increases. Once it’s full, you then go back to your house and drink to your success of loving each other so much. All this does is increase the efficiency of your attacks, and give you more health. Your attacks don’t get faster, you don’t get more defence, you don’t get new moves, nothing. So it actually made fighting feel useless. The only reason I ever fought battles, was because I needed to, so I could later fast travel to the area, or because the story told me too. If I didn’t have to for any of those reasons, I would’ve avoided them all together.

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 10.

Pros:

  • Amazing Characters
  • Gorgeous Visuals
  • Well Written Dialogue

Cons:

  • Battle System Was Barebones
  • The Gameplay Was Boring
  • No Feel Of Getting Stronger

Summary

I’m so divided on this game. One half of the game is well crafted, with its characters and dialogue and the story. It was fantastic and emotional. Then on the other side, you have the boring gameplay and the barebones battle system. For the story, I absolutely recommend this game. For the whole package? Maybe wait for a sale.

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Game & Developer Information

Developer/Publisher Website: The Game Bakers
Developer/Publisher Socials: Twitter
PSN Store Links: £19.99/€24.99 Europe / $24.99 North America
Trophy Information: 31. 40-platinum 1 / Gold 6 / Silver 7 / Bronze 17

Images – https://www.thegamebakers.com/

Haven – Launch Trailer

Published by oniwalker

Co-owner of NodeGamers(dot)com. Reviewer and Guide Writer. I'll play just about anything as I cry about my backlog!

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