Haven (PC) Review

By Athanasios 19.12.2020

Review for Haven on PC

The Game Bakers is a French studio that recently left the realm of small mobile-friendly titles like Squids Odyssey, which is definitely a good thing, as seen in Furi. For its next project the developer tried something surprisingly more ambitious for such a small indie team, with a big-ish, narrative-driven RPG, revolving around the adventures of two lovers who escaped from the clutches of the totalitarian system that brought them up, and now try to survive in a seemingly deserted planet. However, are its beautiful visuals, great voice-acting, plus that that it can be played co-operatively, enough to justify a tiny amount of content stretched over 10+ hours?

Yu and Kay (UK?), the two young protagonists of this tale, for reasons that are initially unknown, rode a spacecraft, and went to a planet known as Source, to escape their past, and live (and survive) on their own. From then on they will have to explore its floating islands, gather resources to craft helpful equipment and food, and also delve into this world's secrets; secrets that are apparently tied to the place they came from. Now, it's important to note that, while an RPG at heart, with things to find, foes to beat, levels to gain, and so on and forth, this frequently tends to feel like a slice-of-life visual novel, with plenty of dialogue, but not exactly much in the way of gameplay.

Screenshot for Haven on PC

One of the key goals here is the need to find replacements for the damaged parts of the spacecraft, which has the couple exploring the land around their base. While this can take up to six whole hours, though, things will feel the same from start to finish. You'll find ingredients with which you can try out different recipes to cook food (required to keep Yu and Kay in top shape, or even heal their wounds), make navigation a little easier by discovering shortcuts, or by unlocking a quick travel of sorts, and of course battle to strengthen the heroes. At the end of the day, however, this isn't really about adventuring, but about character development - it's all about Yu and Kay's relationship with each other.

Don't come in looking for awesome storytelling and epic battles. Both the plot and the battles are intriguing, yet the main theme here is romance - neither action, nor adventure. Haven simply explores the love of these two, and how said love will endure the hardships of their new life. Having said that, while definitely the highlight, the way the lovey-dovey stuff have been handled is a bit hit-or-miss. On one hand it's great seeing them act all cute and loving towards each other, and it's also a breath of a fresh air to finally experience a video game that tackles romance in a sincere and mature way. On the other one, though, the fluffy-ness occasionally goes out of hand, and can get irritating.

Screenshot for Haven on PC

Yes, romance tends to feel "cringy" for everyone but the ones that are experiencing it, but in all honesty the problem here isn't that. The issue is that Yu and Kay's constant… err, smooching, mars the believability of the predicament these are in. In other words, the whole thing feels fake; forced, if you will. This unknown planet isn't a place they've visited to enjoy their honeymoon, and yet they constantly act like on vacation, wiping out all tension and sense of danger. It's also a bit of a missed opportunity that this plays it a bit too safe, rarely letting its protagonists have a serious fight or at least disagreement.

The good news? Haven is really good at the slice-of-life side of things. It's all better when Yu and Kay stop flirting with each other, and just have a chat while relaxing in their base, or out in the wild, camping. It's these moments that bring them to life as characters, and help players get to know them better. The developer has also added tons (without any exaggeration) of flavour dialogue, which is used to break the silence while they simply explore the planet, something that aids character development as well. As for the voice-acting, although Yu and Kay are, unfortunately, a bit of a boring pair, Janise Harouni, and Chris Lew Kum Hoi have done an awesome job with every line of dialogue.

Screenshot for Haven on PC

Even better than all that, is when these two start talking about their past, slowly revealing bits of background lore concerning the high-tech totalitarian regime that controlled every aspect of their lives so far. Sadly, not only are these dialogue sequences the rarest of the bunch, but this is a title that's generally not too eager to keep you on the edge of your seat. It's too relaxing and peaceful for its own sake, and, even worse, with not much to do - which leads to the main problem with Haven: there just isn't enough meat on its bones to justify the length of the adventure, with no reason for this to last for more than six hours, although it takes about twice as much to reach the end.

Oh yeah. For all this talk about romance and character development, there's an actual game here, and it's definitely the worst aspect, which is a shame really, as this is quite enjoyable for the first two hours or so. Take movement: rather than walking, these two mainly move by flying a few inches above the ground, gracefully gliding all over the place, and are even able to "ride" 'Flow Threads,' fly even higher, and reach distant areas. The battles are pretty neat as well. They follow a simple, yet very innovative system, where you control both characters at the same time, choosing amongst their actions, and even combining them to pull of stronger moves, something that strongly relies in careful timing.

Image for

There's more to talk about here, like the fact that you can find or craft items, or clear islets from the so-called 'Rust' mineral that taints Source's biome - all of these served along some visuals that are very pleasing to the eye, and an easy-going EDM collection of tunes made by Danger that are pleasing to the ear (awesome intro theme, by the way). Guess what? This can also be experienced co-operatively (ideally with your significant other), which makes Yu and Kay look even cuter when they hold hands while grass-surfing. So, what's the problem exactly? This is a well-crafted product, which looks and sounds good, and is also fun. Well, the answer is simple: repetition, lack of challenge… and repetition.

From floating mini-island 'A' to 'B,' and to 'X,' 'Y,' and 'Z,' the gameplay loop never changes. Yu and Kay pick up alien fruit, veggies, and spices for their meals, clear the area of the shiny spots were the mysterious Rust is concentrated, fight a couple of enemies, and every now and then progress the story. The islands might get a tiny bit more complex in structure, and the battles may go from 'Super Easy,' to 'A Little Less Easy,' but things never truly evolve. Nothing offered here is bad, thankfully, but it is a case of little content stretched way, way too far. The developer's ambition is admirable, but unfortunately it backfired, with the end result being a chore, rather than a riveting odyssey.

Screenshot for Haven on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


The best description for Haven would be that of a game developed by a very talented team of people, who dreamed big, but had a budget that was simply not enough, as the concept can even scare larger, more experienced studios. Due to all that, it feels as if stuck in the second chapter of a much, much larger game. Its alien world is beautiful, the gameplay is far from bad, and the way this focuses in the protagonist duo and their romantic relationship is pulled off quite well (for the most part), but in the end, the severe lack of content, as well as challenge, soon turns this into a repetitive, and painfully boring chore.


The Game Bakers


The Game Bakers


Real Time RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Comments are currently disabled

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?

There are 1 members online at the moment.