On paper, Batora: Lost Haven sounds like an absolute thrill ride. You’ll journey to distant planets. Meet and defeat many alien races. Make choices in a branching narrative that may decide the fate of entire species. However, as you’ll learn in this Batora: Lost Haven review, when each of these parts doesn’t excel on its own, the final concoction is one of disappointment.
After an overly long scene setter, Batora: Lost Haven reveals itself to be a game of two halves. The first, set in the physical plane, is feels as though it could be heading in the direction of Diablo. The second, on the mental plane, initially appears to be a twin-stick shooter of sorts. However, in actual gameplay, Batora: Lost Haven is something very different.
The game is instead a pretty straight-forward isometric adventure game. The two phases – physical and mental – are alternate weapon systems that deal greater damage to enemies of the same colour. The player is able to flip between them at will, and each has their own health meter. However, if one health bar empties it’s still game over.
With this system in place its hard not to believe that Batora: Lost Haven was meant to be something more. As if the hope was that the whole would be more than the sum of its parts. This is even more evident when taking into account the small puzzling sections of the game.
In between the overly lengthy conversations and the rather dull, repetitive combat, you’ll come across moments of the game where putting your logic and dexterity skills come above your ability to dish-out damage. These challenges, clearly influenced by Immortals: Fenyx Rising – which, in turn, was obviously inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – see you shooting at distant panels to make pathways appear, or guiding huge boulders across mazes. While quite liberally lifting the templates from the two aforementioned greats, Batora: Lost Haven applies them with without any charm or grace. There’s seemingly no understanding of what makes these challenges fun. Instead, Batora: Lost Haven delivers frustration far too early in the game.
Outside of the mechanics there are numerous flaws which just make it hard to take the game seriously. Ridiculous spelling mistakes occur far too often, which is not good for such a text-heavy game. The level design flits between interesting and annoying far too often. The levelling-up system shows little compassion for those who care about the development of their character, and while a rune system which allows for varied upgrades is certainly interesting, it’s certainly no substitute.
Sadly, Batora: Lost Haven is not the game you might have been hoping for. It would be unfair to suggest that it is a terrible experience, but it surely cannot be what developer Stormind Games originally set out to achieve. Each part of the game sounds intriguing in theory. But in execution, none will maintain interest long enough to overlook the flaws of others. It feels harsh to end this Batora: Lost Haven review on such a dull note, but in reality that’s perhaps the best way to sum up the game.