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Haven Review: A gentle exploration

Haven Review: A gentle exploration

In Haven, Yu and Kay fled their planet to live out their supposedly forbidden story. The young couple then findsthemselves propelled on Source, a land that welcomes life, but seems virgin of all civilization. At least that's what they believe at the start of the adventure, but they will quickly discover that this fragmented land has been explored long before them. Faced with the dangers, they will have to learn to adapt themselves.

JOURNEY UNDER ACID

The starting point of the adventure is not original since very quickly the game asks us to sift through the different areas of the planet in order to find resources to repair the ship. This is something we are used to in space exploration video games. Nevertheless, the title surprises with its artistic direction. The bias of cell shading and bright colors does not leave you indifferent. And what about the introduction, which features the couple in an unforgettable animation sequence! The movements are reminiscent of those of a Journey or a Flower: the two characters float and glide through the landscapes. By following waves, they gain speed and reach heights that seemed inaccessible. The experience provides a very pleasant feeling of freedom, lightness, but also power in the face of the unknown. Hand in hand, Yu and Kay (your choice) travel from one planet fragment to another through wave corridors. The fairly rapid arrival of a radar that serves as a map to find your way around is also welcome so as not to get lost. As the adventure progresses, the protagonists will learn new skills and movement techniques to make navigation even easier. Quick U-turn, turns, backflip ... walking around becomes a real pleasure, sometimes being sufficient on its own and leaving us in contemplation. Electronic music is fun and goes very well with the sensations of sliding. After the first hours of the gameplay, however, they become a bit repetitive. Just like places that take a while to diversify.

Haven gameplay snapshot

THE ANTI FURI

Game Bakers stood out with the nervous Furi. With Haven, the studio makes a real shift: the game presents almost no difficulty. Very accessible, it offers a gentle exploration which consists of collecting resources for food, creating objects to heal or improve attacks, clean areas, and fight a few monsters. The game over does not exist because in case of defeat you will end up in your shuttle. The clashes require coordination if you play two to perform more powerful attacks in a duo. But you can also do it very well on your own, just press the two corresponding buttons at the same time. To charge an attack or defend yourself, you have to hold the key and release it at the right time. It brings a certain rhythm to the fights. As explained above, you just have to spot the blows that work on your opponents and juggle defense and offense for the bosses. Rather than knocking out creatures, free them from a hold that makes them aggressive once they have received enough damage. There isn't much of a challenge and it can get pretty boring over time.

Haven a video game made by The Game Backers studio

THE PLAYER: ACTOR BUT ALSO SPECTATOR

Haven relies heavily on the quality of its writing. We must not be afraid of the chatter which is very present. The dialogues are not lacking in humor and pizzazz. Keeping up with the couple’s sometimes terribly ordinary daily lives, whether over meals, couch chats, ship repairs, or over drinks, we quickly become attached to Yu and Kay. All these privileged moments also allow you to fill a gauge to learn new movements and abilities. Suffice to say that the game pushes us to multiply these moments. If on the outside the player is the character of their choice, this is not the case on the ship. In fact, it is possible to walk and choose which scene to trigger: the shower, the treatment, the preparation of remedies, cooking, or even sleeping. It gives the impression that we are inviting each other into the privacy of the couple. Yes, it has a voyeuristic side. A rather curious choice which also places the player as an actor and spectator.

Haven, Here's the Yu and Kay couple characters

Haven Review Conclusion

Although we observe a certain weariness and lack of challenge, the writing of the dialogue and the personality of Yu and Kay make us want to continue the adventure. The gliding sensations and the artistic direction are also the strengths of the title. However, I would have liked to see more of them, especially when exploring ancient settlements that stop at their gates. Anyway, Haven is the effect of a charming surprise and should mark the genre of adventure games thanks to the quality of the writing, the few mechanisms borrowed from RPGs, the possibility of playing as a duo, and its accessibility. For more information about the game, please visit the Haven official website for all details. You can still leave your comment below. It's always appreciated.

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