Once I opened up Haven Moon, the first thing that struck me was how beautiful the world around me was. There were blue skies and open oceans. How did I get here? I wasn’t quite sure. I will soon learn where I am and what I’m to do on this island through a series of handwritten notes from the person who built this place.
As a lot of others (and the creator) have pointed out, this game is highly reminiscent of Myst. If you’re itching to get back into a puzzle game that’ll take you to different places, this may be a good choice for you. Of course, being a title created by a one-man team, don’t expect the game to be overly long or its puzzles to be super complex.
Throughout the game, you learn that you came from Menra, and you are now on Menra’s moon, Seleos. Now that you’re here, Ektor Turren, the only survivor of a cataclysmic event that destroyed his world, wants to pass on his treasure to you. Like I mentioned, a lot of the story is told through notes left around the island—thought there aren’t actually that many notes for you to go through. I do wish that the story was told less through text, and more through gameplay. It got a bit tedious seeing 3 letters on a table and knowing you had to pause whatever you were doing and take a while to read and understand walls of text.
The puzzles are adequate in difficulty, though at times I would get pretty stuck. I ended up going online for help on a few of the puzzles. I felt that the solution didn’t quite make sense and the game didn’t exactly take into account how people would solve it. Perhaps it was the lack of hand-holding, which usually I really appreciate. But I felt Haven Moon could have done with more guidance here and there. At the same time though, I don’t suggest this be achieved through more random notes around the islands.
The world’s beauty carries forward as you explore the other surrounding islands. I liked how you could really feel that you were on a different island due to the environment. Canon Island in particular was stormy and dark, and for a moment, I thought there might be horror aspects to it. There isn’t, so don’t worry if that’s what you’re not quite looking for when picking up Haven Moon. The music that accompanies the game was also well done in my opinion. Entering certain rooms or areas could trigger the music to come on, and for the most part, added to an air of mystery.
The art is steampunk in style, and it goes well together thematically from island to island. I do wonder how Ektor Turren was able to construct this whole island by himself though. This was another point that I had issues with. Even after completing the game, I felt that there was a lot of missing gaps and pieces in the story that I wish were given to us. I understand the general gist of who I am, as well as who Ektor is, and the world that I came from, but the understanding is very vague and shallow. Perhaps this could have added to the mystery surrounding the island, but I really thought that by the end, I would get more out of the story.
To beat Haven Moon, you’ll need around 3 hours. I don’t think that’s too short, and I think François Roussel did a great job completing his homage to Myst. You can definitely feel that it’s a passion project and I’m proud of what he achieved. I do think that the game could have done with some extra polish in both the puzzles and the story, and that’s what knocked off marks in my book. For a game that’s quite reliant on the puzzles and the story to pull the whole thing together, it was a bit lacking.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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