Haven Review (Switch)

Aside from the Rust and the planet breaking apart, Source makes for a beautiful honeymoon spot.

Released: February 4, 2021
Available on: Switch/Steam/Consoles
Genre: Romantic RPG Adventure
Developer: The Game Bakers
Publisher: The Game Bakers

Well, it’s about time I finally played Haven. I’ve been meaning to play this and write a review for Haven as a Valentine’s Day post for the past two years. Considering Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday this year, and I post on Wednesdays, I thought “this year is going to be the year”. As you can see, I didn’t procrastinate on playing Haven and now I don’t have to hate myself for missing the perfect year to post it! Yay! Past that, I really did want to play Haven. I still remember my reaction when I first saw the trailer and I actually bought it the month it released on the Switch. As you can guess, the reason why it’s been in my backlog for this long is because I got sidetrack with other games and I couldn’t rope in my mom to play it again (I was playing it co-op originally).

Anyway, let’s get into the review!

Haven follows two characters named Yu and Kay. You start out not knowing much, other than that Yu and Kay are a couple, but as you progress through the story and listen to their various conversations you’ll learn more about them and their situation. The game starts as they’re going about their day. They have seemingly been doing the same thing for the past couple days and Yu is getting sick of it while Kay hasn’t gotten to that point yet (or at least being the optimistic one). However, that all changes one day as they were gathering food as a sudden earthquake happens on the islet they landed on. Yu and Kay were unharmed, but it caused the islet to split apart and for the ship they’ve been residing in, the Nest, to fall. Resulting in the Nest not only breaking to the point where it needs replacement parts, but also wedged in a way that it’s tilted. Luckily, fixing it so it sits flat was the easy part, but getting replacement parts is going to be a bit harder.

While the situation was terrible, it at least had a silver lining. It activated small flow bridges that allows Yu and Kay to travel between the various islets where before it was isolated. Now they can actually travel around Source, see the creatures that reside there, and pick some new food so they don’t have to eat appledews for the rest of their life! Although, it does reveal some unsettling news. They notice some buildings and tech that point to the Apiary trying to colonize the planet and strange, red matter that Kay compares to rust that’s smothering Source’s vegetation and affecting the wildlife. Luckily, the Rust is sensitive to Flow, which is an energy source that powers practically everything, so they already have what they need to clear it out.

It doesn’t take long for you to learn the circumstances of Yu and Kay as well. It turns out that they originally were living in a place called the Apiary. Yu grew up to be an engineer and Kay became a biologist which actually led him to meeting Yu as he worked for her mother. They end up falling for one another and while Yu entertained the idea of just leaving, it wasn’t until they were matched with their respective mates that they decided to flee. Yu and Kay loved each other too much and they would rather just become fugitives than to let themselves be torn apart. Against all odds, they were able to make it to Source, the very planet the whole game takes place on, as it seemed unlikely for the Apiary to find them there (especially since Kay was luckily to find documents alluding to the planet). By the time the game starts, it seems like Yu and Kay were only on Source for a couple days.

So, throughout the game, you’ll not only be trying to find replacement parts to repair The Nest and clean out the Rust, but also find answers to various questions. Why was the Apiary trying so hard to hide Source? Why are there Apiary tech and buildings here? Why did this part of Source break into various pieces? Where did the Rust come from and what is it? Did the Apiary pick up on the signal they accidentally sent and if so, will they try and forcefully take them back? What will happen if they do?

I quite liked the story of Haven. It was a gamble starting the game effectively in the middle of Yu and Kay’s story, but I feel it worked really well. You only really need to know that the two protagonists are in love and you get filled in as you play more. I loved the relationship between Yu and Kay, which was especially important considering the focus the story puts on them. They’re opposites in a lot of ways, but they work well together and it’s very obvious why they fell in love and still are in love. And being opposites, they fill in for the other’s weakness. Kay is the optimistic one that would rather have the hard conversations and plan for a possible bad outcome; while Yu is more pessimistic that pushes all her worries to the back of her mind until she has to deal with it as she has a tendency to overly worry. They have their moments where they clash, but they work through it. One of the complaints I remember hearing is that the game was too lovey-dovey and cheesy and while yeah it is at points, I didn’t really mind it. Hearing them allude to sex a lot get tiring, but there were a lot of cute moments that I absolutely lived for. It makes me a bit sad that some events are seemingly random or missable as I loved the moments where they talk or do something together.

I also liked the ending. Haven is a perfect example of having an ambiguous ending. It gives you answers to the questions it presented, resolves the main conflict, but leaves Yu and Kay’s future on an unclear, but hopeful, note. It’s a satisfying ending that makes you hopeful for their future. Although, I do wish we got more information about Haven’s world and lore. Like a glossary that’s framed as a kid’s history book or the notes Yu and/or Kay had when they were in school to give it more of a personal touch. I do think the game does well in balancing keeping the game’s world a mystery and giving you enough information to know the gist of things, but I did have some questions and was confused at some points. Like I couldn’t tell whether The Apiary was a planet or the name of the collection of planets connected by the flow bridge or both.

Now onto the gameplay, it’s pretty much divided between you being at The Nest and traversing the various islets that make up the section of Source Yu and Kay are on. In the beginning, you just have the basics for both mechanics and supplies, but as you progress through the first half of the game you’ll unlock more aspects for the various systems. It’s a nice sense of progression both for the player and for Yu and Kay trying to adapt to this new way of living. Aside from that, there are dialogue choices that’ll pop up during conversations which does change how the conversation goes a bit, but also is tied to the hidden Confidence stat that comes into play at the end of the game. Talking about conversations, there are a lot of them. They’re triggered when you go to a specific place, when they go to sleep both in the Nest and camping outside (which have separate sets), when you level up, and there’s even a couch where they talk about their thoughts on what’s currently happening in the story.

Before you venture out into Source, there is some prep you need to do for Yu and Kay. There’s the basics, like a couch where they chat, a bed where they can sleep and have it progress to the next day, and just little items you can interact with, but there are a lot of places that are pretty vital. There’s a small garden where you can tend and harvest the medicinal plants, a place to synthesize medicine using said medicinal plants, a place where you can craft capsules (or combat consumables) using compacted pieces of Ruse, and the kitchen where you’ll be able to cook food to feed Yu and Kay. Each recipe will fill them up no matter what, but they do give a variety of relationship points and/or health (if you used a medicinal veg). You’ll also use Rust to repair the Nest once you find a replacement part. I wouldn’t worry about conserving your resources. When you first unlock it, sure, but you’ll get so much that by the end you won’t be able to get rid of them. You can only pick up 99 of each resource and anything past that is just wasted.

The Nest is also where you’ll level up. You gain Relationship Points by doing a variety of things that’s so long that it’s just easier to say what doesn’t give you points (traversing Source and crafting). Once the bar fills up, you can then level up and this is by drinking some applebrew (which is pretty much alcohol) where you’ll get a cute scene and have some stats increase. As long as you’re doing everything, you’ll be at the max level a little bit before you’re ready to do the ending.

A lot of what you’ll be doing is exploring Source, or at least the bit that was broken into a lot of pieces (or islets). Luckily, you don’t have to suffer through slow walking speed as they both have anti-grav boots that allow them to glide through the environment. These boots can also grab flow threads that’ll not only keep your equipment charged, but will let you get to hard-to-reach places as some threads will lead up into the air. Aside from unlocking all the islets for your map, there are a few things you can pick up or do. There’s vegetation scattered around that you can pick so you can make the various dishes Kay can make them into. You do need to wait for them to grow back, of course, but you’ll be able to gather enough. A lot of the islets will be afflicted with Rust and all you really need to do is glide over it and luckily, you only need to hit all of the glowing, red spots to clear it out. I would have been driven insane if you had to clear out every bit. Aside from things that advance the story, there are also buildings you can open and you’ll get a scene with them exploring it and maybe bringing out an item to bring back to the Nest. Yu and Kay also have a hunger meter. You’ll know when it’s half empty once one of them complains about being hungry. Thankfully, you don’t have to travel all the way back to the Nest as there are camping spots where you can heal up, eat, and sleep. It’s best not to let it empty as you’ll glide slower and it’ll take longer to charge your actions in combat.

Don’t worry, as fast travel does get unlocked fairly early. You do need to make a dish to bait in the creature that Yu and Kay ride, but you’ll be able to go to any islet that you cleared. There’s even a secret islet you’ll be taken to if you bait it with a particular dish.

There was some annoyances with traversal though. In the beginning you’ll get nagged a lot for not drifting and more times than not it was just me trying to get a better look at the environment. I even got a scene where I had to redo the drifting tutorial which was annoying, but at least they stopped complaining about me not drifting every time I stopped gliding. On that, gliding will probably take you a while to get used to, which I feel is mostly due to the camera. It’s hard to really explain, but it’s like the camera is too close to the ground and it can inhibit you from seeing vegetation or the glowing Rust spots. There is an option to unlock the camera, but it seems the u-turn is based on where the camera is facing so that’s a recipe for a lot of accidental u-turns. Lastly, there are some flow bridges that are only accessible by a flow thread (due to it being on a raised piece of land). It’s pretty annoying as you’ll never know which flow thread leads you where considering how often they swerve and turn and how long some of them are.

This is just a complaint on one of the side quests, but there is one where Yu and Kay get into a competition of gathering seeds. However, it’s both up to RNG whether you’ll get a seed when you grab the fruit or veg, but it’s also tied to the character and how many you already gathered. The competition is really cute, but it’s annoying gameplay-wise as you need to keep track how many seeds each of them got and switch often (which as someone that defaulted to Yu…yeah was annoying). Getting all the seeds for one plant will have them planted on the islet the Nest is on and gives you an easy spot to gather them at.

Haven’s combat was probably the weakest link for me. It’s not bad, but it’s not that great either. It’s just okay. Nonetheless, I do like the twist they put on the combat and how they incorporated their relationship into it. When you run into a creature afflicted with Rust, you’ll be thrown into combat. If you manage to run into them while their back is turned, you’ll actually be at an advantage as they’ll have their back turned at the start of combat for a little bit. If you’re too low on health, you can also use a flow burst to knock out the enemy for a bit. Anyway, combat is in real time with moves requiring a bit of time to charge up. Both Yu and Kay have the same moves, but they do need to work together to get out of it (mostly) unscathed. For attacks, you have the choice of either a blast or an impact. At first, it doesn’t seem like there’s a reason to use one over the other, but there are enemies that will be strong against one and weak to the other. Or you’ll even have to wait until they get dazed to attack. You can also do a duo attack if you have both of them doing the same attack and charge it up if you’re leveled up enough. If you notice an enemy charging up an attack, you an have one of them shield. You can tell which one is being targeted, but they’ll protect each other (which is helpful since they can only shield so many times in a row). You’ll also be able to use capsules, once that unlocks, to heal, increase your speed, or damage everyone at once, but it does have a longer charge.

Once you whittle the enemy’s health down, you can then pacify them and clean them of the Rust. You do have a limited time to do it though as they’ll get back up if you’re not quick enough. Though, if you manage to down them all you can pacify them all in one go. You can’t escape combat, but as long as one of them are alive you can help the other up.

The cutest thing is that there is an idle animation where Yu and Kay will either hug or kiss each other and it’ll put them at the same health. It’s not only helpful, but also so cute. Yu and Kay will also hold hands as they’re gliding as well, which is cute.

Oink forever scarred lol

You can play Haven in co-op if you know someone that would like to play with you locally. I didn’t play in co-op in my full playthrough, but I did a bit when I first played it years ago. I don’t believe it got any updates and I’m just going to go off of my memories. In co-op you’ll control either Yu or Kay and you basically work together for every aspect. You’ll have to work together and communicate throughout the whole game as you can’t craft anything, cook anything, or get through combat (mostly) unscathed if you don’t. For traversal, both characters can act independently, though the camera will stay with the leader, or one can just have their character follow the other (the leader) like how it is when you’re playing solo. The added benefit, though, is that the follower does get an added cursor that helps in clearing the Rust. Even dialogue options have you two voting for which one to say, but I wished this wasn’t the case. I feel this aspect should have let you be the only one choosing what your respective character says, especially since it doesn’t make sense having it be a vote.

If you are going to be playing it in co-op, just make sure you’re playing it with someone you won’t awkward playing this with, let alone just in earshot when playing solo. Yu and Kay are definitely lovey dovey and they don’t make it a secret that they have sex a lot. It’s not outright said, but they allude to it a lot.

In terms of the performance on the Switch, it’s not too bad. For the most part it plays well with the occasional dips while traversing Source. The framerate drops just enough for it to be noticeable, but not enough to hinder traversal. I did notice drops happening more while I was in the bigger islets and the couple islets that had big story-related set piece (like a big structure). The only big problem I had with performance came at the very end when you pick what ending you’ll get. When I picked the bad ending I got a black screen with no music, but the ability to still skip the cutscene. When I went to get the good ending, my game crashed for the first and only time (it’s hard to explain when it did without spoiling it, but it was the first node you go to after the cutscene that showed the result of the Confidence stat). I was able to get the good ending when I reloaded the game so that’s good at least.


I’m happy that I finally pushed myself to play Haven. I wasn’t so sure about the game when I first started, but once the game gets going it gets better. There are some annoyances and I do wish we got more lore, but overall Haven is a really wholesome experience that I regret waiting so long to play. I loved the relationship between Yu and Kay, even though they allude to sex way too much, and I loved hearing their conversations. The voice actors did a great job voicing their characters. I liked the story, traversing Source and cleaning up the Rust was pretty fun once I got used to it, and I even liked the ending. I ended up liking Haven and I would recommend picking this up if you’re also looking for a sweet, wholesome story with a dash of conflict that focuses on the love between Yu and Kay with some fun gameplay, good voice acting, and a nice soundtrack.

Also I’m definitely open for a sequel, whether it follows Yu and Kay again so we can see what happened to them or a whole new couple that gives us another perspective.


♡ ♡ ♡ A witch that goes for anything that peaks her interest no matter the genre. Currently obsessed with the Persona series and trying to make a dent in my backlog. ♡ ♡ ♡

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