Haven is an odd blend of sci-fi RPG and survival elements that explores a world where the story's two protagonists Yu and and Kay, escape to embark on a journey of their own, while exploring the limits of their love. When they break free as captives from a community called the Apiary, Yu and Kay find their ship decommissioned while they remain stranded on a fragmented world named Source made of islands. With limited resources on their side, will their love be enough to conquer all?
Developed by The Game Bakers, Haven is a true departure from the team's previous outings. With Haven, we have a unique single-player RPG that allows you to explore vast semi-open worlds with two intriguing characters. Yu and Kay are those two characters, and their onscreen chemistry really allows you to feel their love and sorrows throughout the 12 to 15 hour story of their journey. Exploring the depths of their relationship, and what exactly brings them together in these tumultuous times of need are the true sentiments Haven offers. The game always wants you to wonder what's next on their uncertain journey.
When I saw the beautiful world, I was excited and ready to set out and explore this unknown planet. But what it really had me focus on is item collecting and very light story moments hidden in pockets of the land. You'll spend most of your time flying around empty rural lands as the young couple looking for whatever's on your list to return to your ship called the Nest. At the Nest Yu and Kay will have a chance to talk, sleep, heal, cook, relax and craft, while figuring out their next move in the large maze-like planet that surrounds you. It's not too interesting, as your options for doing these things are limited.
These boots will allow you access to all sorts of unearthly terrain that will make exploring and getting around that much easier...
Both in and out of the Nest, you'll get a chance to explore Yu and Kay's relationship. Most of the dialogue is goofy and lighthearted, but you'll also explore a deeper sense of where they've been and what they're up against having escaped the Apiary as the game progresses. With a very light branching story, you can expand on their chemistry, while advancing the story and even sometimes gain experience with your characters through their time together.
Going out gives you a chance to really explore what Source has to offer, a world built of dozens of beautiful water-color-inspired islets. On these islets you'll roam around looking for items such as food, rust and parts that help you progress through the game. You'll spend numerous hours clearing the tainted land of red, oozing rust from the blueish-green grasslands. This feels a lot like Super Mario Sunshine and the mess Bowser Jr. leaves for Mario to clear up. Be prepared; you'll be spending a lot of time clearing area after area up over and over again. Unfortunately, there isn't much to see or do besides that, except possibly find a minor story point hidden away from time to time.
Walking is boring and slow in Haven, but that's where the hover boots come in. These boots will allow you access to all sorts of unearthly terrain that will make exploring and getting around that much easier, and for the most part it's pretty fun-- especially when enemies are chasing you and you need to make a quick escape. With a snap of the analog sticks, or a tap of the trigger, you can make quick U-turns or drift to keep your momentum in tact. The hover boots do run out of energy from, as indicated at the top of the screen, but this is countered by following flow threads that are essentially tracks found throughout the lands. Flying through these flow threads allows your boots to charge giving you more energy to hover farther and faster. Like a lot of other things in Haven, always having to reload the boots looks fun, but wears thin rather quickly.
Once the enemies are downed, you'll want to use their Pacify attack that removes the rust and turns these beastly mean animals back into the fun, loving selves they were before the rust took them over.
Of course not everything is merry and pleasant when you're out exploring these little islets. You'll eventually run into enemy creatures that have become enraged by rust. Yu and Kay team up to take on these enemies with three different attacks. Most enemies are weak to one attack or another leaving little room for the idea of possibly gaining newer, better attacks in the future. The Duo Blast allows Yu and Kay to team up with a charge attack that when times properly can lead to some major damage. Combat is slow, very simple, and leaves you wanting more after only a couple hours. Once the enemies are downed, you'll want to use their Pacify attack that removes the rust and turns these beastly mean animals back into the fun, loving selves they were before the rust took them over.
I found the music of Haven expansive and very well orchestrated. You get thrilling tunes while you're out exploring, and memorable battle sequence moments. While the lands of Source aren't rich for exploring, the music does keep it interesting while you're on the move.
Overall, Haven is a game for those looking to play something with a semi-romantic story, that really want to just relax and enjoy an easy RPG rather than something that you'll have to grind through to level up like you'd see in Final Fantasy. The exploration is there, but the mostly empty lands, limited things to do, and boring battles are its downfall.
A game code was provided for this review from the publisher for Nintendo Switch.