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Shattered Haven review

Shattered Haven

Danger lurks everywhere

Grays


Keeping your family safe is hard enough at the best of times, but what if there are supernatural beings out to get you too? Arcen Games’ Shattered Haven gives you a taste of that. It is a top down environmental puzzle game about family, grit and survival, and is available now on PC. You must use the tools and weapons that you find in the world to your advantage, while avoiding all manner of creatures and environmental dangers along the way.

Five years ago, the Williamses found a compound that gave them protection from the Grays, hostile, zombie-like creatures which roamed the land after an apocalypse that would change the word forever. Darrell and Mary felt so safe that they had a daughter and even took in a young, orphaned boy whose mother had become one of the dreaded Grays. Soon after, however, the compound is overrun with Grays, and the children are split up from the adults. The parents must travel across the world, fighting back against the Grays, and uncovering new mysteries as they go, all in a quest to save their daughter and her new friend. The story itself is not completely linear but actually has different endings depending on certain events in the game.

Everything is against you


Soon it becomes apparent that the Grays are not the only dangers out there. Many of the animals are violent and vicious, and earth tremors cause whole chunks of land to crumble into an abyss. Eventually you are introduced to two eldritch horrors which appear to be at war with each other, a war which you are hopelessly caught in the middle of.

The game is split up into an Overworld, which then branches off into separate, smaller levels, of which there are nearly a hundred. Many of these levels are only accessed by eerie portals, which not only transport you somewhere else, but also remove any items that you might have in your inventory. Most levels are completed by destroying all of the Grays which inhabit it. This is done by collecting weapons that are scattered around the level. Some weapons are hidden and can only be accessed by using special tools. For example, the sickle can cut down small bushes, the hammer can repair broken bridges, and the axe can chop down certain types of trees.

All the while, a variety of enemies pose a constant threat. Grays will usually home in on your position or at least move in some kind of pattern, but for the most part can be outrun. Some Grays are faster though, and others will break through anything in their way to get to you. Later on you find enemies which require more than one hit to kill, and even those that are simply invulnerable. Grays can only be damaged by iron and water, so many of the tools you find will not harm them. I had the most success with iron tipped throwing spears and iron tacks which can be laid on the ground. The Grays are not clever enough to avoid traps, but they will not walk into a crevasse and will stop themselves before entering a body of water. It almost becomes a game of high stakes Pacman, as you attempt to lead enemies around the level long enough to get what you need. Then, once you have the weapons at your disposal, you turn on your pursuers and take them out one by one.
Fun score 7.0

Pros

Great soundtrack and a fairly interesting storyline keep you going. Good amount of replayability if you want to get the best scores.

Cons

The gameplay is fine, but uninspired and gets a bit samey. Visuals are going for an old fashioned look, but are not very stylised.

Shattered Haven screenshots