Haven TEST: an exotic adventure on Source

The Game Bakers is in fact not very young, the studio founded by formerUbisoft celebrated his 10th birthday last year, but he is best known for Furi, action game at gameplay demanding, with original artistic direction and music synthwave heady. The latest game from the Montpellier studio, Haven, takes again two of these elements, for a journey of exploration and love. Said like that, it’s silly, but in fact, Haven is a game that’s just as refreshing as it is imperfect.

The game of The Game Bakers makes up for it with a very neat writing.

Haven is in fact an adventure game taking place in a futuristic dystopian world where the inhabitants are more or less controlled by the Hive, a system that manages their life until they find ideal companions or companions. A way of life that is not to the taste of Kay and Yu, illegal couple who decide to flee the Hive on board of Not, their little vessel. The young duo eventually land on Source, a planet beyond the control of Hive and perfect to start a new life under the sign of rediscovered freedom.

Of course, everything does not go as planned, an earthquake damages the Not, Kay and Yu have to explore the planet, divided into fragments and connected by arcs of waves, to try to repair it and will make some unexpected discoveries. The scenario ofHaven is not a masterpiece of originality, the few twists and turns are quite predictable and the player has a hard time staying glued to his controller to know the rest of the story, but the game of The Game Bakers makes up for it by a very neat writing, with very many dialogues between Yu and Kay that always ring true. The couple discuss everything and nothing, about their new life on Source, from his past in the Hive, his passion for food (it’s not free, we’ll come back to that) and also sex. Yes, a young couple who find themselves alone on a desert planet with nothing to disturb them, obviously, it’s fun, and that could have been perfectly credible if the subject did not come up so often in the discussion, Kay and Yu would almost pass for obsessed …

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Between two somersaults on the bed or the sofa, the player is still invited to explore Source, planet exploded into several flying islands and connected by bridges created by the wave, an energy that is also on the ground. In Haven, the player controls any of the characters and even if he can walk (it’s very slow), he mostly spends his time hovering thanks to boots powered by the wave. The gameplay is thus very airy and fluid, with the ability to do 180 ° skids and turns, and even follow wave flows to rise further into the air to reach new places. At the start of the adventure, it’s still a treat. The controls (with the joystick, preferably) respond to the finger and the eye, the movements are fluid and the feeling of freedom is palpable. The artistic direction with these bright colors and these exotic environments also dazzles the eyes., but quickly, the player still feels like he is going in circles. The islets all look a bit alike, there isn’t much to do on the planets other than hover, collect fruit for cooking, clean rust and face enemies, the gameplay is quite redundant after a few hours of play, it is a pity, even if rare elements are there to break the monotony and launch dialogues. The soundtrack, composed by Franck « Danger »Rivoire (who has already worked at the soundtrack of Furi) participate in this escape, the themes are varied, but here again, the electronic music that accompanies the exploration sequences goes a little in circles, and despite their quality, the player tends to get bored.

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If we spoke earlier about rust, it is because the fragments of Source are covered with a strange reddish material that has infested most of the islets, a rust that Kay and Yu must harvest to repair their ship (in addition to basic parts) and which is also used to craft healing items.

Many boring back and forths, which do not help the repetitiveness of the gameplay.

Haven 19 02 2019 screenshot 1Haven offers quite a few crafting to be done at Not, including cooking thanks to the various foods found on Source to restore health while traveling, more classic healing items, and even capsules to use in combat. A rather nice game mechanics, which however requires to return to the Not regularly (even if camps are present outside for cooking and resting), resulting in many boring trips back and forth, which does not help the repetitiveness of the gameplay. The craft request to use two parts of the controller at the same time, namely the directional cross for the first element and the buttons X / AND / B / A (on PC, Xbox or Switch) or Square / Triangle / round / Croix (sure PlayStation) for the second. A system identical to that of combat, where each side controls a character. Kay and Yu can thus launch ranged or contact attacks, protect themselves and finally pacify enemies when they are KO’d. Because yes, the enemies are simply animals perverted by rust, no question of reducing them to dust for free and participating in an animal genocide on Source ! By pressing the same action on both sides, it is even possible to launch more powerful combo attacks, but strength is not everything, some enemies require a little special techniques to be beaten, like countering their attack with a character and throwing a blow immediately afterwards with the second hero, a pretty nice little fingertip, but again redundant after a few fights. Besides, Haven is not very difficult overall, and if Kay and Yu are beaten, they simply return to the Not… and we have to redo the path to the right island, more back and forth… Fortunately, it is possible to facilitate the fights in the options to avoid this kind of problem, and overall, the title is not long, it folds in about ten hours even by exploring all the flying islands .

Haven 19 02 2019 head

Haven is a very imperfect title, in particular because of its great repetitiveness in the gameplay, but which manages to stand out for its artistic direction, its heady soundtrack and its very accurate writing. All this gives the game of The Game Bakers a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere, the player takes pleasure in spending a few minutes in the Not to listen to the stories of Kay and Yu, to wander on Source and listen to the music of Danger, but the title could have been shorter to avoid redundancy.

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Haven is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S and Nintendo Switch, the game has been tested on PC and Xbox Series S with Game Pass Ultimate, sold € 38.99 for three months.

Most

  • Colorful artistic direction
  • Danger soundtrack
  • Very fair writing
  • Really fun gameplay …

The lessers

  • … but repetitive over time
  • Some sequences that look a little towards voyeurism

editor vignetteAmaury M. / Clint008
Writer – Tester
Explorer of more or less noisy music, collector of caps and vinyls, venerator of Blade Runner and Deus Ex. I like zombies and Cthulhu.
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