Haven is a game about love. Not the romantic slow burn or even the hard-won love at the end of a great battle. It’s a game about what happens after all of that; after you’ve given up everything for love. What comes next?
Yu and Kay live in the Apiary. Well lived rather. In this society, the Matchmaker assigns your love destiny and that is who you’ll be with for the rest of your life. In this life, Yu and Kay were deemed to not be destined for each other. But instead of pulling a Romeo and Juliet joint suicide, they both escape together to a far-flung planet to be together. Away from the prying eyes of society Yu and Kay begin to carve out a life together and uncover a mystery that deepens their connection more than they could have ever dreamed.
Couple escapes evil society trying to stop their relationship. Couple run away together and live happily ever after. The end. Not quite. The planet that Yu and Kay is called Source and it is a wild rural place. While their spaceship, called Nest, has all the creature comforts they could want, creatures are inhibiting the floating islets of Source. For the most part, they’re ambivalent to Yu and Kay’s presence unless the rust has infected them, turning them hostile to their human visitors. (Think of the corruption in Horizon Zero Dawn.) It’s only by clearing the rust from each islet can the pair restore peace to their new Haven.
In sync with each other in words, actions, and body, it’s magical to watch Yu and Kay glide from islet to islet holding hands. It’s not all crafting and sourcing materials for them, Haven doesn’t feel like a survival game. Instead, the game shines in its conversations and interactions that the couple has with each other. Their talk has maturity, humour, and depth to them, one positing philosophical questions while the other answers, in turn.
But the background of their man-made utopia, the Council of Apiary is searching. And it’s only a matter of time before they find them.
Not everything is whispered conversations and kisses under the stars in Haven. It is still a game and there are things about Source that must be discovered. Explore the alien planet of Source by skate-gliding along ley lines to pick up alien plants and crafting materials. Traversal is at the core of Haven, and the hover boots, allow you to wonderfully weave your way through interconnected zones.
Not every location is so enjoyable, though. Simply put, some environments are a pain to navigate. Steep cliffs and deep chasms demand that you find a way around, which usually results in tedious wandering as you try to locate the one very specific pathway that’ll get you to your goal. Tied with the idea of exploration you won’t be getting a minimap. And the map that you do eventually unlock doesn’t tell you where particular points of interest are.
Survival And Combat
Haven has some very light survival mechanics. You’ll discover various foods as you explore Source, which can then be used as cooking ingredients. Prepare meals either back at the Nest or out in the field at pretty cosy camping spot. Eating prevents Kay and Yu from complaining about their empty stomachs for at least a few minutes, while also making the couple more efficient in combat.
Combat is a little different with Yu and Kay. You must control both of them to attack and defend as the situation demands. You need to keep track of your opponent’s actions and react accordingly, with each command mapped to its own face button. It’s actually quite tricky to get to grips with, but it’s rewarding to watch the couple combine their powers when the system finally clicks.
Haven is a wonderful game that evokes deep feelings more than anything. You can play the game solo but if you have that special someone you’d like to share the game with Haven supports local co-op. So a second player can jump in at any time and take control of either Yu or Kay in combat and other activities. I’d recommend playing with the volume up because Haven’s soundtrack is a work of art. Crafted by French electronic musician Danger, it’s an intricate, excellent soundtrack packed with catchy beats and ethereal melodies. Brilliant from start to finish.
Haven by The Game Bakers is one of our top games from the PC Gaming Show as well as best games out this December. It’s out now on the PlayStation 4 & 5, the Xbox Series X & S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.