Once you have completed a level you have to find the exit portal, sometimes while being pursued by an evil, invincible spirit. You can choose to go back to any level in order to try and get a better score by collecting certain items in the level or by completing challenges. These challenges usually range from avoiding all damage, to killing a certain type of enemy first, to not using a specific weapon. I never felt the desire to go back and redo a level however, partly because I did not find the reward to be all that useful, and partly because the gameplay is not all that inspired.
I used a gamepad to play Shattered Haven and it gave me a good range of movement. The controls do feel a little floaty and I often found myself accidentally falling off an edge or walking into a fire. The game allows only four items at one time and this feels a little odd. You can pause the game at any time and reassign items to the four action buttons but it is difficult to grasp why it is not possible to items to all the other buttons as well. The penalty for death was never really made clear, if there even is one other than to make you restart a level, so I never really felt engaged. As you move from one area to the next, there is a slight pause where you cannot see what is going to be around the corner. Enemies can appear right next to where you spawn and these were often the main cause for me taking damage and thus a cause of frustration at times.
The soundtrack is the outstanding part of the game. It creates a great, eerie atmosphere while exploring the Overworld, and gets you a bit more involved in the action in the smaller levels. A town near the start of the game offers an excellent track with melancholy strings which really set the tone for a place that has been ravaged by the walking dead. The occasional painted cutscene furthers the story with some decent voiceover work. Sadly the visuals do not match up to the high quality audio. They are very simple and it often feels quite cluttered. It can be hard to tell one type of Gray from another, leading to situations where I you are not sure which one poses the greater threat.
The levels have some decent variety with some add maze-like qualities to the level and others adding the threat of parts of the scenery crumbling away into nothingness. Most of the levels boil down to the same mechanics though, and if the game was not as deep or as long as it is, I could easily see it having been a free browser game. A level editor allows you to create your own areas, as well as your own cutscenes and even tell stories. The basic editing is simple but there is great depth to be found in the scripting menus and other areas. Creating something complex is a little daunting, but it is nice to have it to play around with.
Overall, Shattered Haven is a decent game for its low price. It features a standard narrative with a few twists and turns to keep things interesting. What it lacks in visual excellence, it makes up for with its fantastic soundtrack. The gameplay itself is not all that engaging, but new mechanics, weapons and tools are added throughout the game, so I would not say that I was ever bored while playing. Nostalgia for this old style of gameplay might be the best reason for you to want to try this out.
Great soundtrack and a fairly interesting storyline keep you going. Good amount of replayability if you want to get the best scores.
The gameplay is fine, but uninspired and gets a bit samey. Visuals are going for an old fashioned look, but are not very stylised.