Haven is a visual novel mixed with some awesome gameplay, but the key is Yu and Kays’ relationship.
Their relationship throughout the game feels real and not manufactured on overly-done tropes. Genuine, compelling, and simply adorable are how I would describe them.
They go through their fair share of ups and downs as you watch like a fly on the wall, helping to make some decisions with them along the way.
This is one of the most ambitious visual novels I’ve ever played and the amount of character it has is staggering.
- Meeting Yu and Kay (0:00)
- Flowing Around the World (10:10)
- Blooting Boss Fight (21:40)
- Upgrading the Nest (29:28)
- Is Haven Amazing? (33:18)
Grab a seat and become the awkward third wheel as we dine on some appledews!
Meeting Yu and Kay
Haven is a really good looking game on the Xbox Series X.
(If you’re curious about the Xbox Series X, I unboxed the console a while back! Be sure to check it out! Otherwise, you can read all about my first thoughts on the console by clicking here!)
The lighting, character models, and the visual novel elements all play nicely together and wrap the entire thing in a complete package that I really cannot get enough of.
Before we drop-in, it is worth noting that Haven deals with some heavy relationship elements.
The game is all about Yu and Kays’ relationship and the struggles that come with it, outside of the fact that they’re being hunted; which we will get to.
Haven does not shy away from these characters showing their affection towards each other and even bringing their spouts of arguing to the forefront. It is refreshing to see a relationship feel so real; mixed with the good and the bad.
The first thing we do is celebrate, which gives us a look into the visual novel aspect of the game.
After kicking back a nice drink, we join Yu and Kay in stargazing and a bit of discussion.
One thing I appreciate is that the characters don’t swear. They make up their unique curses which is a fun and quirky element.
In this instance, we get the word “Bloot” which is just an all-purpose swear that I will now be adding to my vocab.
We discover that the planet we are on is called Source and we get our first decision.
Choosing the option allows Kay to gain confidence and be more open to Yu. This then tells Yu to join Kay in his chair and continue to stare into space as they begin to discuss everything more openly.
The thing to take note of is just how good the voice acting in Haven is. It is amazing and gives the entire game an air of realism. It all flows and melds to make it feel alive–just wonderful!
After a nice heart to heart, we end the scene and get some upgrades that help with the gameplay aspect outside the Nest.
Some new single attacks and a max HP upgrade works for me.
We continue onward with another little chat on science talk that just goes way over my head. Kay and Yu are smarter than I could ever hope to be.
Before we hop out of the Nest, we take a quick nap until daytime. Kay had other plans and decided to stay up a bit for some research.
Yu pretends to listen but she has to go to the bathroom, so Kay explains how we can use rust to our advantage as Yu rushes off to the bathroom.
It is now daytime. We synthesize a health kit, heal up to have more HP, eat so we’re full and ready to go outside the Nest! Honestly, the same routine I have before I leave.
Flowing around the world
Kay is tending to his garden so we can grow food right outside the Nest. A great attribute since we don’t have to go far.
With that, we are in the core of the game where you fly around; doing so by using and collecting Flow. Flow is what is used to clear rust and get around within Haven’s world on Source.
The cool thing is that you can play as Yu and Kay at your leisure. This allows you to switch between them on the fly and play who you want vs. the game choosing for you.
You can walk around but are very slow, so just kick on some Flow and you’re off to the races!
I show off the map, pet Oink, and get flowing.
We move to the next Islet and it’s worth noting that the Islets are really small and it is a pain with how many loading screens are in this game.
You move between Islets a lot but there is a fair share of loading screens while you are out adventuring. It can kill the momentum of the gameplay, but at least the loading screens are adorable.
We move onto the next Islet towards our glow and do some sick flips on the flow.
One thing to take note of is that as you move through the world is that Yu and Kay will randomly talk to each other. This could be about anything, from the weather to the current situation they’re in, or even just about the Islet they are on. It’s cool and makes them feel alive. I appreciate that.
We gather some Appledews and move forward.
Let me take a moment to explain Flow. There are blue trails on the map that you fly over and it refills your flow tank. This allows you to hover around more, as well as stop enemies from attacking you.
We run into some rust–the red stuff all over the ground.
The goal is to pick up the rust on every islet, this will allow the islet to be cleaned. Once cleaned, you can go to that islet using the fast travel system on a giant bird thing, which is rad.
After clearing a bit of rust, we run into a fight with some rust-covered enemies.
The basic gist is that you hold down a direction on the control sticks of the controller for different attacks and shielding.
Different attacks affect the enemies differently and it is worth mixing moves up to find the best combination for the specific enemy.
For this first fight, we merge our duo blast to out the enemy on the right nice and easy, then attack the other enemy until they’re down.
Once the enemies are downed we can use Pacify by holding up on the stick to cleanse them of rust and end the fight!
Now that they are nice and clean, we give them a good ole scratch and then flow onwards on a flow trail up, up, and away.
We enter a building that houses a drone charging station and discusses how we’re going to handle things.
It turns out that we handle this poorly and accidentally phone home back to the Apiary.
Yu and Kay are scared of this fact and we decide to get out of the area knowing that the MatchMaker may be sending for us.
After some sweet drifts, a few quick fights, and complaining about walking around (which is fair, walking sucks) we move onto the next rust-covered Islet.
Blooting Boss Fight
Holding hands isn’t enough to deal with what we are about to endure. We run into our first boss fight of the game.
This boss is rough and nearly caused me to lose both Yu and Kay, which would be a major bloot.
It is a tough battle that takes everything you’ve learned and puts your skills to the test to ensure you know how the systems work.
I learn very slowly how to properly block. It takes a lot of brainpower I just don’t have at this moment.
It takes me far too long to figure out that you’re supposed to use Yu or Kay one at a time to shield one another. Once that clicks with me I’m able to make some headway in the fight.
The combat is almost like a rhythm game where you wait for the opening and attack. My brain just refuses to find that rhythm, resulting in me stumbling my way around and nearly dying twice.
By some miracle, everything does eventually click and I can take the boss down in a semblance of victory!
I’m very depressed that I can’t scratch the boss, but it’s time to enter the building we just fought so hard for.
I learn a new power where you can charge up the flow into a flow burst and blast open the door.
Going into the building, Yu and Kay discuss the building interior and all the fancy machines within. But determined to not leave empty-handed, we grab an Extender Nozzle for the Nest. Let’s make a beeline back and install it!
Upgrading the Nest
We install the new Extender Nozzle and get access to a new part of the ship to use for upgrades and building.
This opens up a whole new crafting section to the game.
We craft a balm that allows us to heal amid combat and a tonic to increase the speed of our characters.
We get a little explanation of how to use it in combat and I decide to wrap things up with a little cooking to prepare for the next outing.
But before we leave, we have to get that sweet workout in. Making sure Kay has enough weight for a sweet burn, we throw MattCam on top of his back.
We get in that sick pump and can wrap this up. Nothing better than calling it an episode on a high note!
Is Haven Amazing?
Haven is a game that I went in with no expectations, no idea of the gameplay, or any background information. I was completely blind.
It managed to impress me time and time again as I played more and more. The gameplay and the Visual Novel aspect truly enraptured me.
Yu and Kay are two incredible characters that manage to lift an entire story in the early stages of the plot all by themselves.
They feel like old friends to any player; not created to fit some constructive narrative. I believe that shows in their custom dialog out in the field.
Haven is a game that fires on all fronts and is nothing less of a blast to play.
Be sure to strap on your hover boots and follow the flow, you won’t be disappointed!