[Preview] Haven

Proving a point

Haven brings a mixture of RPG elements, slice of life and Journey-esque exploration, with just a dash of Breath of the Wild thrown in. What the Game Bakers have set out to achieve is a relaxing, enjoyable experience with enough about it to make you care about the characters without being overly convoluted.

Due for release in the first half of 2020, the game tells the tale of two young lovers who, for reasons unknown, have escaped to an alien planet to be together. During my time with the demo (which incidentally wasn’t yet running on a Nintendo Switch) I was told that over the course of the game’s approximately 12 hour campaign, the story would unfold and all would be revealed.

Knead I say more?

After the tutorial section, which admittedly was a little dialogue heavy, taken care of, I was free to explore the strange alien world I found myself on. What quickly became apparent was that influences from Breath of the Wild were hidden in plain sight. The addition of cooking, along with sections of malice that required purifying with your flow, the game’s rechargeable energy system. Although the dialogue used text boxes, and required an awful amount of pressing A, all conversations were fully voice acted to a high level. The addition of an auto speak function, similar to the one used in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, could alleviate any issues with pacing.

Rising to the occasion

The main thing I took away from my time with Haven is how enjoyable exploration was. By navigating the flow lines, you could zip around the game world with a certain je ne sais quoi. Think Journey, only in stunning 3D cel shaded environments. So, think Journey….

Combat in Haven is an interesting proposition. It is approached in an asymmetrical manner – the type of gameplay that Shigeru Miyamoto tried so hard to perfect during the dark days of the Wii U. As an example, one character can stun an enemy while the other attempts to pacify it, in doing so frees it from it’s crazed state, a byproduct of the aforementioned malice like substance found in the game world. In fairness, it was a bit hit an miss. I found it a little difficult to carry out two tasks, but I’m sure that with time and practice, it will become second nature and begin to feel more organic.

Given the early build of the game, it’s impossible to make any definite conclusions about Haven, however, it’s certainly got a lot going for it, and with the right care and attention from the good folk over at The Game Bakers, it could without question be one to watch early next year.

Haven is aiming to launch on Steam and across all console in the first half of 2020

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