Haven is a game that I have had my eye on for a little while now, ever since finding out it was going to be a lovely little JRPG style wholesome experience about two people on the run who just want to live a quiet life and love each other.
Is it any good?
First things first, Haven is a damn beautiful game about love that had become a surprise contender for my game of the year list at the end of last year, the wholesome content portrayed throughout has been an absolute remedy for the shitshow of 2020 and 2021!
The world is absolutely stunning, the characters are expertly designed to be beautiful and real with the monster design being fantastic, even the art on the loading screens is stunning. This is the first game I’ve played so far that I wouldn’t mind if the PS5 took a little longer to load games, just so I could stare at these beautiful loading screens a little more.
The hand drawn aesthetic of the dialogue boxes and loading screens does a lot of work to make you forget that this is a little indie game made by just a handful of people.
The characters are the main focus on Haven and have been rooted in real situations with a sci-fi flare, think arguing about dinner in your crashed spaceship and you are just about there, and it’s this focus on characters that really shines through for Haven.
This is absolutely fine for me because I love the protagonists, Yu and Kay, so damn much. They are just two lovers who have been marooned on a desolate, dangerous planet, spending the whole time making the best of increasingly crap situations.
Conversations between Kay and Yu are interspersed with conversational choices that can shift the mood between the couple on a dime. However, it pays to take the braver choices at times as Kay or Yu can increase their conversational abilities – unlocking more options down the line. It’s these conversations that make them both feel exceptionally real and are by far my favourite part of this incredible game.
The relationship between Kay and Yu feel like a genuine real relationship, they bicker and fight but they stay together by the power of love alone and it’s perfect for this past year to just be filled with love, the characters aren’t just pallet swaps that we tend to see in this sort of game either, Kay is the more analytical, scientist one who is a bit sterner whilst Yu is the comedy relief and a bit more confident, she is also the engineer and mechanic of the two- they’re a perfect couple and they complement each other perfectly.
The story is fairly simple really; Kay and Yu are on the run from their home planet and something called the “Matchmaker”, as the story progresses it becomes apparent that Kay and Yu were matched with someone else but ran away to be together (I love it).
The main bulk of the game is filled with flying around the islets and collecting parts to repair your ship after an earthquake, this part of the story isn’t amazing and is pretty stock for the genre – but as I keep banging on, it’s all about the relationship between Kay and Yu that keeps me playing this game. Despite all the space exploration, hover boots and various other sci-fi elements that sit comfortably within the game – Haven excels when it focuses on the normal aspects of being a couple.
Battles are also great fun! You use the dpad or face buttons to charge up attacks against the games various critters – one the critter is out of health you use your power to pacify it and send it on its merry way. Its so very wholesome and fits in with the games overall feel perfectly.
The exploration is done by gliding around the planet’s various islets and this movement feels a lot like Journey with the gliding being exceptionally smooth and intuitive – though I do wish I could control the camera, but this is a minor niggle really.
When you aren’t exploring you will spend a lot of time in the ship (or nest) which acts as a home base; and it’s here where you will spend time as a couple in safety carrying out activities such as cooking, healing, sleeping and viewing the planet. All of this unlocks points that increase how much of a match Kay and Yu are.
I really loved my time with Haven and the game did a perfect job of making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Kay and Yu are perfect and I love them so much but the overall narrative can be a bit of a slog at times but the fun battle system and fantastic art style more than make up for this making Haven an easy:
Thanks for reading my review, have you played Haven? Do you love Yu and Kay as much as me? Let me know in the comments below.