Developer: The Game Bakers
Publisher: The Game Bakers
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Serise X/S PC
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Release Date: 03/12/2020
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
Haven is at its very core a Romance Visual-Novel with light RPG elements. The story revolves around Kay and Yue, a pair that left their home world to find true love with each other. Haven start off with the pair just trying to survive and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the world they landed on. Until an earthquake destroys the ship Yue had parked on top of a small cliff (really never should have been up there). However, luckily for the pair, this opens up energy bridges that allow them to explore more of the floating inlets, allowing them to fix the ship.
The story is a slow burner, but it gets going after a few hours in to the game. This does not take away from the great narrative of the game. It spoon feeds the player with small chunks of information while the pair make google eyes at each other. As you progress more and more information is told about their home planet and their old lives.
As I stated, Haven is more of a Visual-Novel narrative based game with Kay and Yu, spending time together chatting about all things you would after forming a relationship getting to know each other. This in its self can be off-putting, I for one am not the biggest fan of romance media. But somehow the devs at The Game Bakers have made Haven in to something I can enjoy even when romance if front and center. The stories from their own world truly was fascinated me, and what could happen to the duo if found.
Part of the storytelling is done while out and about gliding about the Inlets trying to find rust and specific parts of the ship. This made story telling feel more natural and less forced. Not only that, the world its self has its own story to tell with partly built colony building, and the what actually happened here question. With lots of minor elements coming together to make up the complete narrative, and it is delivered perfectly.
Enough about the story lets talk about Haven’s gameplay elements. That is partly based around story cut-scenes… mmm. Ok lets talk less about the Visual-Novel side and more about the gliding and fighting.
We will spend most of the game time gliding around the inlets on anti-gravity boots, while collecting flow, alien vegetation, rust and fighting animals. Haven has the pair preparing meals to eat on the ship and out in the world. These meals will allow for more talking and refill health. There is also an element of item management, as the vegetation is the only useable item in this world we also use them for healing items. Luckily, there is no carry limit.
As the due fly about the duo come across ‘Rust’ lots of red stuff on the ground, just so happens that Kay is perfect for making stuff and knows everything they need to in order to survive an alien world, and he know that ‘Rust’ can fix the ship. This ‘Rust’ also has a negative impact on the wildlife life with them getting aggressive, forcing the duo to fight. The battle system is simple, with everything happening in real time. By holding down the corresponding button to fill a bar, then let out an attack. Enemy’s attacks are well signposted its just about learning when to block. In order to level up, Yue has made alcohol so going back and drinking will level up the pair and you guessed it another cut-scene.
These two elements the gliding and fights make up the gameplay, meaning that after an hour or two there will be nothing else to experience from a gameplay perspective. I mean, it is a visual-novel first off, but with so much time exploring it can be a little boring after a while.
I have to acknowledge the voice acting it is outstanding along with the well-written script. Haven feel natural in the delivery of the lines and how the narrative flows.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Haven; the story is impressive if a little too mussy, but that is what it is: a romance story. I just wished there was a little more to do while exploring and out in the world. But with great voice acting and storytelling, Haven is worth your time.