A review that goes against the grain, it’s Shattered Haven by Arcen Games.
Bit of an odd review where I’m possibly as conflicted as the developers were when making this game. While I did update this post several months ago, I up-updated it today, as I noticed I left a few things out of the original update. Most notably, the third paragraph talking about PC settings.
A Paladin’s Steam Review: Shattered Haven. Conflicted Feelings of Survival.
- Genre: 2D Survival, RPG and Puzzle Solving.
- Developed and Published by: Arcen Games.
- Platform: Windows, Mac and Linux.
- Business Model: Base Game
- Copy supplied via press key from Arcen Games
The Shattered Haven experience overall has a feeling of confliction. Like like the dev(s) were uncertain of what they wanted to make until the last figurative minute. There are underpinnings of a really great game here but its execution feels schizophrenic at times. I have to wonder if there were multiple developers involved that weren’t on the same page. The overall mechanics aren’t bad on their own but when combined together, leaves a rushed or incomplete feeling. It doesn’t mesh together as well as it should. The difficulty can spike between easy and insane in an instant which creates an aggravating experience.
The graphics are ok for a 2D game, the music is pretty good but can be jarring at times when it switches style all of the sudden. Some tracks were apparently not done by Pablo, their regular soundtrack composer. Said tracks sound generic and completely out of place. Additionally, the control scheme isn’t the best either. It doesn’t feel intuitive though I find it difficult to describe why that is. I think if I had to point the blame at anything, it would be the weird inventory management system and wonky combat. Here’s the problem with the combat: you have to get close to the monsters in order to kill/trap them. But those same monsters hurt you and knock you back if you get too close to them. Which can result in you getting knocked into a pitfall, other enemies or any other number of obstacles on the map. Which then probably results in death. It’s incredibly aggravating to deal with during the game leading to the spikes in difficulty.
PC Settings and Options
All of the PC settings you expect for a 2D game are here and then some. Arcen is always fantastic at making sure that their games run extremely well. Additionally, this game comes with all of the settings needed. Separate volume sliders, custom controls, V-Sync, resolution options (though it should be noted that the art scales weirdly so you may experience black borders at certain resolutions) and the ability to change the Game Save Directory if you wish. It also has a level editor & the ability to mod the texture pack.
It’s such an odd, clearly experimental game that I’m not sure which way I should go on this recommendation. It’s good…it’s bad…it’s good but it’s bad….gahhh, I just don’t know. I definitely think adding more months of polish with the ideas presented here would have gone a long way to making this game better. I’m only going to recommend it if you’re looking for an experimental 2D RPGish puzzle survival game. But be aware that this game has a quirkiness to it that will cause frustration if you let it.
Thanks for reading!