Haven Review (Nintendo Switch)

Published on February 21st, 2021 by Gervais D.

Haven Review (Nintendo Switch)

How far would you go for your true love? Would you leave everything behind and run away with them to an abandoned planet, or would you give in to dictatorship and acknowledge it wasn’t meant to be? Haven is a game that goes along those lines where the bond you have with your true love gives you the power you need to overcome any challenges that await you.

Story

Two lovers, Yu and Kay, have given up everything to be together. Unhappy with the way people do things in their homeland, these two lovebirds have escaped to a lost planet. Tasked with finding various parts for their broken ship, they must now endure the dangers the planet has in store for them. Haven is a game about love, freedom, and rebellion. The game takes you on a journey to see what it can be like to get away from your troubles and explore a vast, abandoned land. This is, of course, with your soulmate.

Fully voiced English dialogue accompanies you as you traverse these forgotten lands. It’s a pleasant touch to the ear as you listen to these companions talk to each other while traveling the grounds. The voices greatly suit their respective characters, and they even try to keep up with lip movements. As romance is part of the game, the voices will sound a bit flirty at times, so be warned.

Romance

As you may have already been aware, Haven is a romantic RPG that revolves around two lovers. The game will be no short of cutscenes where these two lovebirds will express their undying love for each other. While this may appeal to many players, the idea may seem discouraging to some members of the LGBTQ+ community. Despite this, you can still enjoy the game when outside of your base. These two characters will still interact with each other on the field, but it doesn’t get as intense as behind the ship’s walls.

Dialogue Choice in Haven
What happens in the ship stays in the ship.

Multiple character models would have wholeheartedly opened the game up to more players. For the game’s price and 10-15 hours of playtime, it’s understandable why the developers may not have included these additions. Developers would have had to exclude some cutscenes if such a thing existed, too. While you can skip the cutscenes, they aren’t always intimate. A little more effort and a possibly small price bump would have likely seen no disagreements from consumers for this purpose.

Choices

The game will often prompt choices for you to select from during dialogue scenes. There isn’t any clear indication of its benefits, but your characters can feel confident depending on the option chosen. Choosing between the given options can change the writing you’ll see. While these choices won’t affect the story, they do make the conversations slightly more engaging.

Gameplay

Haven is an RPG in which you play as two lovers: Yu and Kay. What separates this game from the majority is that you play as these two characters at the same time. Whether you’ll be moving through the abandoned world or fighting off enemies, the duo will always be together through thick and thin. The strong characteristic of this is shown mostly during combat, in which you must control both characters simultaneously. It was designed to be a solo game, but developers implemented local co-op play to prevent missed opportunities.

Exploration

Exploration plays a vital role in Haven. Traversing the world is a top-notch experience where you can seamlessly swap between characters. Gliding truly feels much better than walking could ever be in a video game. Turning corners can prove to be an issue with the fast-paced gliding speed; however, the game has a way of dealing with it. Drifting allows you to perfectly turn sharp corners without breaking a sweat. It will take some time to get accustomed to, but it’s possible to master it with enough practice.

Cleaning rust in Haven
Lots of areas will have rust for you to clean.

There will be areas in the game covered in rust. It’s up to you to clean up these areas of this anomaly and recover crafting materials. Clearing these rust areas can get repetitive, but it can also feel good if you have the patience and enjoy the movement mechanics. Navigation can be troublesome in the early parts of the game, but the map you unlock later on dramatically improves upon this.

Playing with the creatures in Haven
A lot of players will surely appreciate this.

There are various creatures in the world to encounter. Although not entirely useful, you’ll be able to pet, rub, or play with most of these critters in great detail. It’s always intriguing learning the different ways you can engage these creatures and how they’ll react.

Combat

Haven takes a unique approach with its combat. As the two lovebirds, you’ll have to simultaneously control them to defeat the foes in your path. This is done by controlling both characters with the D-pad and the ABXY buttons, respectively. You perform actions by holding down the corresponding button to charge and release it to execute. Simultaneously operating these controls yourself usually doesn’t pose many difficulties; however, it can cause some delays until you’ve fully gotten accustomed to it.

Haven Combat on the Nintendo Switch
Simultaneously control two characters in combat.

The light never dims when it comes to fights in this game. There won’t be a large number of battles gushing your way, but most of the ones that do will be entertaining. You’ll have to coordinate with your in-game partner to weaken and purify/overload the enemies that get in your way. You do this by utilizing regular attacks, synced combo attacks, consumable items, and a breakable shield. Each character’s turn is based on a fillable gauge where time waits for no man. This makes battles feel more like you’re in the moment even though they’re still turn-based.

Sync Combat in Haven on the Nintendo Switch
Charge up and perform a synchronized attack.

You’ll be able to split the burden of controlling two characters with your real-life partner. The game supports two-player co-op, and it makes it easy for your partner to pick up a controller to join the fun. Playing together with a friend or your soulmate allows you to focus more. It also makes the gameplay more manageable, but you can always adjust the difficulty throughout the game. Although Haven isn’t a tough game, there will be some challenging battles. The additional, easier difficulty makes room for casual players to have a carefree time.

Strengthening Your Character

You’d usually fight enemies and level up your character(s) in a typical RPG. Haven is different. Instead of strengthening your character from experience on the battlefield, you’ll have to grow the bond between the two protagonists. As their bond grows stronger, they will as well. Various methods contribute to strengthening their bond. Some examples are eating different types of food and triggering cutscenes at the ship.

Strengthening the duo in this game isn’t a challenging task. It’ll only be a matter of time until you’re near to maxing out their stats. The more you play, the higher the chance of raising your bond meter. It’s not something you’ll have to obsess over completing; instead, you’ll be able to play at your own pace and reach these bond milestones in due time.

Point and Click

Haven has a point-and-click style of gameplay when you’re at your base. There won’t be many clicking options at the beginning, but they’ll increase as you continue playing. Usually, clicking the right part will trigger a scene. The game doesn’t make it difficult to let you know what you can click and what cannot. So, you’ll have no trouble navigating the base and triggering the events that lie ahead.

Haven Flow Thread
Have a screenshot of Yu and Kay on a flow thread instead.

You won’t be able to heal in the overworld the typical way that’s known in RPGs. You’ll have to find a camping spot or return to your base. There, you’ll be able to use an item you’ve crafted to heal up. Various crafting options are available at your base, and using most are straightforward. The troublesome part is exiting the screen; you must hold down two buttons and sync them together to do so, which you may not immediately pick up on.

Local Co-Op Play

It’s crazy imagining a game such as Haven without any co-op play. The idea of the game is to play as two characters, after all. Limiting it to just one player didn’t seem right. And forcing gameplay upon two players might have reduced the number of consumers. As not everyone has a local friend or partner to play with, having both options was the perfect way to go.

The game can be played in full by yourself; however, another player can drop in at any time. Playing the game with two players doesn’t drastically change the core gameplay. It can make combat even simpler as you’ll be able to focus more on your character of choice. Each player can move their character in the overworld and command them during battles but beyond that are only minor differences.

Graphics and Performance

There isn’t much in the world of Haven. What you will find are large, deserted fields, multiple abandoned structures, and various living creatures. There’s a lot of beauty to see, and it perfectly fits the atmosphere of the game. The character models look fantastic, and their movement is smooth. The framerate can sometimes dip when entering a new area, but it’s not too terrible. The 3D character outline sometimes looks rough during the dialogue at the base, but thankfully it isn’t consistent.

Loading Screen Artwork in Haven on the Nintendo Switch
There’s a lot of artwork shown during loading screens.

You’re going to experience a lot of loading screens in Haven. Hopping from one area to the next or entering a building will prompt one of these bad boys without fail. An extensive set of artwork is displayed on rotation during these loading screens. It takes away the boring blank screen loading bars to have something you’d actually appreciate during the waiting periods. The high number of these rotated art pieces isn’t a joke, either. You won’t often see the same artwork, so you won’t grow tired of it.

Soundtrack

The game’s soundtrack comes from the renowned electro musician known as DANGER. It’s the perfect set of tunes for a game such as Haven. The electro beats are soothing to the ear during exploration and combat. It truly heightens the experience you get from the game. What’s unfortunate is that sometimes the game’s background music mutes itself during combat. It doesn’t frequently occur, but it’s disheartening having to fight off enemies with no tunes to listen to; it’s only then the fighting feels somewhat bland.

Conclusion

Haven is a fantastic adventure RPG with a good take on fictional romance. Clearing rust from areas can get repetitive, but the godly movement mechanics and the accompanying English voice acting makes it far from a tedious experience. Even if you’re not a fan of the romance portion of the game, it can still take you for an enjoyable ride.

Haven gets an 8.5/10.

About Gervais D.

Gervais laughs at a difficult RPG while it takes its last breath as he conquers it. He's been gaming since the NES and loves to relax at the beach.