Two star-crossed lovers escape to a seemingly deserted planet to find peace in Haven, the part romance novel, part RPG that’s available now for the Nintendo Switch. Focusing on relationships and featuring a sci-fi element I was interested in checking it out. The art style is immediately pleasing and it works right into Nintendo’s “share the joy” mantra it often touts with the Switch by handing a Joy-Con to another player and going at it co-op. Unfortunately the premise ended up being much greater than the sum of its parts.
Haven is a game that revolves around Yu and Kay who, despite escaping to a forgotten planet for love, don’t seem to act like an actual couple in a relationship at all. Everything from how they talk to each other or their awkward sex life just feels forced and cringeworthy.
The game is meant to be played with a romantic partner, which I am fortunate enough to have considering the state of the world right now. But, due to the stilted dialogue and dullness of the gameplay neither myself or my partner really found ourselves wanting to play more. Each line uttered by one of the characters made us look at each other and say: “Is this really how people in relationships talk to each other?”
If you’re willing to get past the banter between the two characters that was seemingly written by people who may have never experienced what it’s like to be in a romantic relationship, the gameplay, unfortunately doesn’t make up for it. Most of your time is spent gliding around a mostly empty planet either cleaning up rust or finding food. It gets dull after about five minutes and it’s made worse by the constant chatter of awkward lines going back and forth between Yu and Kay.
Fortunately the game is pretty to look at. The world, albeit empty, is a gorgeous watercolor cell-shaded environment that gives off major Breath of the Wild vibes. The background sounds are mostly ambient noises that lend to the deserted planet atmosphere of Haven.
Drifting around the grassy plains is surprisingly fluid and relaxing. The occasional creatures I found were unique and cool to see, but there wasn’t much else to do with them other than collect an item from them.
There are some easy turn-based battles you can choose to encounter or avoid. If you’re playing with a partner, each person can control a character with one Joy-Con, which is pretty cool. The game is not challenging since it’s meant to be played together with a special someone who may or may not be a video game player.
Every in-game morning and evening the player is forced to endure Yu and Kay’s relationship in their home pod. In this setting players can choose to cook or repair parts of the ship and depending on the actions the player chooses the two’s relationship chemistry will increase. It’s basically a point and click romance novel.
As you could probably tell I didn’t quite enjoy my time with Haven. I originally wanted to play it to see if my partner and I would enjoy it together, but it was neither fun or well-written enough for us to really get into it. I found myself forcefully playing the game for the sake of this review and not much else while my partner exited the room because she couldn’t handle listening to the game’s dialogue. Some others may find enjoyment here but, sadly, that wasn’t us.
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 4/104/10
- Gameplay - 4/104/10
- Lasting Appeal - 4/104/10
Final Thoughts: BAD
Haven introduces some nice ideas but fails to capture its core audience: people who are actually in relationships. If it can’t do that, I’m not really sure who this game is for.