The striking art and the writing are likely what draw most people to Haven. It follows a couple, Yu and Kay, escaping an unknown threat and living together on a deserted planet. They have an established relationship and must learn to survive and live together in an intimate setting. While at PAX West, I had a chance to play the game, which delivers on those promises. More than that, though, it offers a unique take on turn-based combat people shouldn't ignore either.
While there are two main characters in Yu and Kay, their relationship is the real main character of the game. You aren't choosing one to play, and the other is pushed off to the side as a secondary character. More than that, you aren't working to beef up one or the other at a time. Instead of them individually leveling, their relationship with each other is the thing that levels up. As their bond gets stronger, they themselves do as well.
Exploring the open world, while it looked a little sparse, was fun. You fly through the air, switching from Yu and Kay anytime you wish, collecting resources along the way. And maybe avoiding, or starting, fights if you want. Crafting is going to play a role in the game, though how big it will be, I'm not sure. There's a lot of different things to collect to cook up different food, so if you're one who likes to test out recipes, Haven has you covered.
The most interesting thing I saw while playing Haven was easily its combat. In the image above, you'll see that players have four different options to choose from for both characters. Impact and Blast are the two different attacks you have, each of which may be stronger or weaker depending on the enemy. Shield is just as you think, a shield you can time to try to block some incoming damage from an enemy. Pacify is what you'll do to take an enemy out of the fight. Once they're beaten down, you pacify them to send them off. So, you're not killing stuff, it's just angry for one reason or another.
Haven's combat is all about timing. You don't just use one of the abilities, you have to hold down the corresponding button until the bar is filled, then you can let it go when you want to use it. So, if you're trying to Shield from an enemy's attack, you have to be anticipating it. If they've already started the animation of their attack, you're likely too late.
For attacks, you also charge them up. And as I've said before, you're better off thinking of Yu and Kay as one character you want to work together, so timing their attacks together is a good idea as well. If you're attacking together, with the same ability, you can have Yu and Kay attack together for a much more devastating attack. That then brings up that circle you see above. In that circle will be two bars that rotate around the center, which you then have to time your release to have both Yu and Kay's ability hit to have it go off. If you do, it definitely pays off.
It's a very simple system that took a little while to get my head around. It's more real-time than turn-based, as once you're done using an ability, you can get going on the next. So keeping the barrage of attacks going while defending, watching the health of the two characters—which is seen by the yellow coloring in the image above, with red being almost dead—and keeping an eye on the enemies themselves is a lot to do at once. It's very engaging and you're never just sitting there wondering what to do next. You may be wondering what to do next, but you'll be doing something in the meantime to fill that gap as you try to figure it out.
Haven's combat is a system that has a lot of potential to be pretty cool, and I can't wait to see what more it offers. Combine that with some great writing, awesome music, and a nice visual style, and Haven is ticking all the boxes.
Haven is looking to release sometime next year for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC. To learn a whole lot more about Haven, check out our three-part interview with the developers here.