With relationship in mind at its core, Haven is a beautiful game from The Game Bakers. A science fiction RPG set in a dystopian planet; it is probably one of the most unique indie game experiences that I had in a long time. Here you play as Yu and Kay to embark on a colorful adventure in an unknown planet while running away from enemies and finding a safe “haven”.
What separates Haven from the rest is that right off the bat, you will be able to choose what kind of couple dynamic you’ll have. You can play the game with the Yu and Kay that you prefer: a woman and a man, two women, or two men.
Although there is no significant change on the storyline that relates to your choice, it is notable that the game writers did a good job as the in-game script is diverse. It is noteworthy as it sets the tone of the game being relationship centric.
Haven provided a unique experience in the gameplay department as it combines the mechanics of traversing through an unknown planet and searching for supplies, while doing a simulation like experience with maintaining the relationship of the two main characters.
You play both characters at the same time which you can interchange on who will take the lead. I had fun doing exploration in the semi-open world using the couple’s gravity boots while picking different food ingredients which I can cook once I end the mission. Each ingredient that you gather will enable you to cook different meals which will then provide different powerups for the characters. The turn-based combat however falls a bit short as it lacks action in some situations and only rewards the character bond with each other. Each individual actions you do in this game whether choosing recipes or combat will reward the bond of Yu and Kay which you can then unlock some actions.
The game is also heavy in dialogues as you will have unique interactions between the characters depending on the script you chose. With those mechanics in mind, the exploration and getting supplies part can become tedious after a few hours although you will be able to explore around 30+ areas in game. Voice acting sounds dull at times but hey it is above average than some other games out there. There is an average replay value for the game as there are multiple interactions that can be unlocked through certain dialogues and it can be a justification for some to repeat the game.
Playing the game on the PS5, there is nothing much that Haven used that will showcase the power of the console. Players will have the option of choosing between Performance and Resolution mode although there is not much of a difference when it comes to both as the developers ensured that the graphics is smooth. There are no noticeable frame drops whatsoever, nor any game-breaking bugs or glitches that I encountered in my 15-hour journey with the game. It will be nice though if the developers will add support for both haptic feedback and adaptive triggers as I feel that both will interpret different areas in a unique way. Loading time is a breeze thanks to the SSD from the PS5, and I think that this version of the game is the best one out for the consoles.
I have enjoyed my time with the game although some tasks can be a bit of a drag to do. There are times that I find myself getting bored with the in-game tasks as it can be repetitive but the narrative of whether Yu and Kay will be able to find a new home made me stick to it as the game-writing is good. Albeit there are lapses in some aspects, Haven is a great addition to the growing list of games from The Game Bakers. Haven is available for the PS4/ PS5/ Nintendo Switch/ Xbox/ Windows.