Review: Haven

About this Game

Publisher

The Game Bakers

Developer

The Game Bakers

Release Date

December 3rd, 2020

Console

PlayStation 4, Playstation 5

How long does it take to unlock all trophies in Haven?

~15h

How difficult is it to unlock all trophies in Haven?

Easy (3/10)

Does Haven have online trophies?

No

Does Haven have difficulty-specific trophies?

No

Follow Us

Flow-Crossed Lovers

I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t already burnt through the entire catalogue of big PS5 games, I may not have even given this game a second glance. I check the PS5 section in the PS Store about 3-4 times a week looking for a new game which seems like it’ll let me continue to experience my PS5 to the fullest, and I always saw Haven there.

About 15-20 times I overlooked this game and shrugged it off as some indie filler that wouldn’t satiate my hunger, until eventually I just went for it. I bought Haven…

And then Hitman 3 stole my attention, followed by Control until once again I was left staring at a near-empty PS5 dashboard, so I finally booted Haven up. Let me tell you, I should have bought and platted it sooner. It may be an indie game with mediocre graphics, but the quality of the game really surprised me.

Haven Platinum Review

Forbidden Love

After booting up the game I was greeted with an intense watercolour animation of the game’s two main characters and received my first surprise of the journey. It is bloody good! I immediately raised my expectations for the game and delved straight into the story.

Haven tells the tale of a young couple in love; Kay and Yu. On their homeworld “The Apiary”, people are paired together with their perfect match by a man they call the “Matchmaker”, and you must agree to that marriage or risk severe punishment. Despite this, Kay and Yu fell deeply in love with each other, knowing it would be against the Matchmaker’s wishes.

Luckily, Yu had access to a small vessel called the “Nest” and Kay happened to have information on an abandoned planet. Desperate to be together, the two took the opportunity to flee and live their life in solitude, free to safely be with each other.

The two main characters have thousands of lines of dialogue which play out across hundreds of possible interactions, read by talented voice actors who really bring the relationship between the two to life.

The game very effectively mirrors the early stages of a young love. The cheesiness and cringiness of the way that couples act when they’re alone and the love is so fresh it feels like nothing else could ever matter more. It’s an interesting experience, because on one hand it’s a very touching and well-written relationship, but the result is that sometimes you end up feeling like a third wheel.

Like you just wanted to go to Maccies with your bro but he insisted on bringing his new girlfriend and now they’re rubbing noses while you inhale your soggy fries and scroll reddit in the corner. It’s not the feeling of being left out, it’s the feeling of being uncomfortable around excessive PDA, and because the two are the only human beings on the entire planet of Source, they really let their cheesy cutesy sides out which tends to make people feel a bit uncomfortable.

For that reason, I could see a lot of people turning their noses up at the game and wishing they could just shoot Zombies or something instead.

Kay and Yu’s relationship plays out both within the Nest and in the outside world of Source, though it is difficult to get handsy when there are Rust-corrupted critters around every corner…

Every cutscene has full 3D animation as well as animated dating-sim-style 2D art which accompanies the dialogue on-screen, group all that in with the fact that no line goes un-voiced and the developers really went the extra mile.

It would have been fine to have just the 2D stuff, like most indie developers would do, it would have been fine to let the 3D animation take the spotlight, it would have been fine to not animate most of it, but they truly gave it their best shot and combined everything for the best storytelling experience.

Home Sweet Home

Early in the game, the Nest becomes heavily damaged, and you’re tasked with going out to find parts with which it can be repaired. Along the way, a much deeper story unfolds. We learn of the sinister-looking rust which coats each of the planet’s floating Islets in crystalline formations, corrupting the wildlife, and how it may have a connection to the Apiary.

Before long, I was working hard to restore each and every Islet to its former beauty and to pacify the planet’s aggressive and violent wildlife back to their naturally docile and peaceful state. This is done through two methods;

Firstly, you can clear away the rust by gliding across the land, using the flow from your boots to purify the ground and reduce the Rust presence. There is, of course, a trophy for doing this on every single Islet, which encouraged me to explore more. I’d find optional boss fights, fruit and veg to use for cooking, objects which would unlock additional cutscenes to strengthen the relationship between the two characters, and more.

Secondly, I would fight my way through groups of enemies using a very unique combat system. Kay is controlled using the and Yu is controlled using the face buttons. Each has the commands “Blast” for a ranged attack, “Impact” for melee, “Shield” to defend, and “Pacify” to purify a downed enemy.

The abilities can be used individually, alternating between each character, or in tandem for powerful “Duo” attacks. Each creature is either weak to Blast or Impact, which is sometimes dependent on their stance. With these few simple mechanics, the combat system becomes a complex menagerie of timing, weakness exploits, and defensive gameplay all rolled into a simple, yet effectively unique combat system.

The trophy list saw me visiting each and every Islet on my route to full Nest repair. On each Islet I visited, I did my best to clear away all the rust and pacify every creature. This wasn’t always easy because I had the characters’ health and hunger to worry about, plus if I stayed out too long powerful “Nightcrawlers” would come out and bring my run to a halt.

Thanks to one trophy called “Unstoppable” which asked that I complete the game with only 3 or less deaths, I was extremely cautious about letting my health get too low and would simply quit the game and load it back up again if I felt I wouldn’t be able to make it through the fight.

While visiting each Islet, clearing away the rust, fighting the wildlife, and gathering parts for the ship, I was also looking for fruit & veg (especially their seeds for the Self-sustainability trophy), secret cutscenes, and optional bosses all to help me fulfil the requirements of some other trophies.

Each time I found a camp or returned to the Nest, I would cook a unique meal – if I could – to progress the Á la Carte trophy within which I’d need to eat every meal.

All in all, it feels like there’s a crazy amount to do, but actually each time you leave the Nest and clean up a few Islets, find an item you needed, pick up a few seeds, and more there’s a great sense of accomplishment and an accompanying satisfaction which makes the trophy list really fun.

Eventually, with the Nest fully repaired and every island cleaned up, it was almost time to end the game…

Spring Cleaning

There were still a few things I needed to do before heading to the Nest’s cockpit to trigger the end of the game. It took me a while to find Creamberries and by that point, the couple were quite highly-levelled, So I wasn’t stopping to rest as much as before. As a result, there were still a few Creamberry dishes to cook and eat for Á la Carte.

As well as that, there was just one cutscene I hadn’t seen yet, and it was needed for the Platinum. There are, as I’ve said before, a crazy amount of potential dialogue scenes to enjoy between the couple, both on the Nest and out in the world. For this specific one, however, I would need to find a game out on Source called “Alpha Zooloolum”, then wait for RNG to serve me the cutscene related to it, which was almost instant.

But then there are two more cutscenes, one where they attempt to play Zooloolum a second time, and then a third where they finally play “strip-a-bobble”, a strip version of an Uno card game they have on the ship.

For whatever reason, the RNG would not serve me the last two. I must have watched pretty much every other possible cutscene in the game. Each time, I’d have to leave the Nest so that the couple would be tired enough to sleep, immediately come back in and go to bed for a chance at a cutscene. Then, in the morning, I’d have to cook or eat to trigger a second chance at the cutscenes, and then rinse and repeat.

I must have done this for about 40 minutes straight until I had finally seen both cutscenes and unlocked the trophy. It was time to finish the game…

Haven actually has two possible endings, and there are three trophies tied to them. One trophy is tied to the bad ending, and two are tied to the good. Luckily, the game makes a backup save for you at the point of no return. So you can go and experience the bad ending, feel a little bit sad, then quickly come back and experience the good ending, putting all three trophies in your pocket.

Additionally, as I hadn’t died during my playthrough (at least not as far as the game could tell) I was able to earn the missable “Unstoppable” trophy too, thus securing my platinum.

Though it was a little frustrating that RNG chose to screw with me towards the end of my playthrough, I thoroughly enjoyed Haven and actually feel a little sad that I’m done. That I won’t be zipping around Source clearing up rust or fumbling through the combat system against powerful rust-infused creatures, but I’m proud to have the platinum in my collection. It also just happens to be my 200th Platinum Trophy!

Time Breakdown

Cleaning all the Rust & Repairing the Nest

Misc Cleanup

Haven Trophy Guide

If this game sounds like something you might be interested in, then allow me to take your hand as Kay takes Yu’s and guide you to the game’s Platinum via our Haven Trophy Guide.

If you enjoyed reading this review, please do let us know, it means the world to us when we hear feedback and we love engaging with people over the game we just platted!

You can follow us on Twitter @GetPlat and Instagram @platget where we’ll be sharing updates, screenshots, upcoming reviews and general gripes about the games we’re working on so feel free to follow us or use it as another channel for feedback!

Verdict

Plat

Taking as little as 12 hours to complete, Haven is a game that all the sentimentalists out there should aim to plat, absorbing all the emotion, cringe, and reality of the very well-voice-acted love story. And for those who love checking off a to-do list (most of us Trophy Hunters, right?) cleaning each Islet one by one offers great satisfaction on the road to the Platinum.

Pros

  • Unique Combat System
  • Talented Voice Cast
  • Touching Story

Cons

  • Gameplay repetitive at times
  • Gliding controls are a bit finicky

Gold Trophy

I've really begun to change my opinion on indie games recently, and Haven is one of the contributing games to this turn. Though the graphics were to a level that I expected, I was really quite surprised by how far everything else was above my expectations. From the watercolour intro, to the hundreds of fully voice-acted and animated cutscenes, a level of love went into this game that you just don't find from most big studios. I tip my hat to The Game Bakers.

About the Author

More fond of single-player experiences and story-driven games than anything else, TheDblTap has a keen eye for secrets and collectables, a skill which serves him well as a Trophy Hunter. However, with little patience and poor timing, he can struggle where MrZhangetsu would succeed.

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