[ Introduction ]
Heaven Dust recaptures the 90s survival horror genre in a more user-friendly shell.
Awaking in a Mansion with no idea who you are or what has happened. It is up to you to escape the zombie-filled puzzle ridden house while unraveling what happened.
A very simple cliche story, very Resident Evil, with so much nostalgia. Heavens Dust has captured the essence of a horror game in a less scary manner..
[ Gameplay ]
Just like the PS1 survival horror games, Heavens Dust’s gameplay is simple and enjoyable, with a few modern twists. If you are looking for something deep in gameplay mechanics, then this is not it. There are plenty of puzzles to keep you on your toes though.
The story and puzzle clues come in the form of notes that can be found throughout the Mansion. Being a lore nut it serves a dual purpose, because the play style keeps me up to date with the story and helps progress through the mansion. This was one of the highlights for the game as you have to read everything or some puzzles will be impossible.
Similar to the original Resident Evil, the mansion has more puzzles than Professor Layton could handle. The come in varying difficulties, from the simple move a box to figuring out passwords. Also at the time the puzzles are very long-winded and will prove to be a bit annoying if you do not remember things you have seen or read. I mean almost anything can be an answer to a puzzle. I found the puzzles fun but I can see some players getting frustrated with them.
The action is simple too, point a gun with R shoot with B, as long as a zombie is in sight then the auto-aim will lock on to it. In theory, at least, there are a few bugs where the lock on will not work and there is no free aim.
Inventory slots are limited to eight, so make sure you have the right item for the puzzle or there will be plenty of backtracking. There is also a shortage of ready to fire bullets, so use ammo wisely but you do have the ability to craft bullets. I found that bullet casings would appear in the Mansion FAR to regularly so I hoarded them and waited till I found gun powder. There was never a real urgency for ammo because of the crafting supplies.
At times zombies will drop tokens. These can be spent in vending machines for the likes of maps, puzzle hints, gunpowder and books. Books will give a slight boost to the player, for instance, a slight increase in Critical hits or movement speed.
The game on a whole is great. I enjoyed it, with just a few changes that could ramp up the feeling of survival horror.
[ Visual and Perfomance ]
Graphically, Heaven Dust takes a strange route for a Resident Evil type game. It is more Chibi and anime style. Do not mistake this for being bad, at first it was a little bit taken aback, but after a while the style grew on me. One thing I did notice was on the outside of the mansion, it was just grey. I would have liked something outside, be it trees, wrecked cars…something that makes it feel as if the Mansion is somewhere rather than in a void.
A massive change from the PlayStation era is the camera angle and the layout of the game. The camera is on a fixed Isometric plain, with the game having no ceilings so it is possible to look into all the rooms without the camera moving. If the character goes behind a wall a blue outline appears to let you know where he is, but only of the playable character.
There have been a few bugs in my pre-release version of the game. I was told before installing that Indinova is looking at a day one patch. I have reported the ones I found to them. I found a puzzle in the Guard-room did not work if on the wall, plus some freezing happened for no reason. Along with a few minor things.
[ Sound ]
Sound design in Heaven Dust is good. The low buildup of dark sounding rumble, to the change into the alarming zombie music. Where the music becomes more alarming rather than faster and louder.
The sound effects are decent. They are just a standard affair that does enough to add to the feeling. With the classic zombie ‘UURRGGHH’ for even more cliche.