Batora: Lost Haven – Review

Grab your boots and overcoat and get ready for an interplanetary adventure in Batora: Lost Haven, as you travel across worlds, meeting locals and making some tough choices to shape your story.

Batora’s Story is a choice-driven narrative which will shape the journey relevant to your actions in this isometric RPG mechanic-filled action/adventure. This unique duality system affects combat, story, dialogues, puzzles, and endings, which work to draw you in and make you question the sacrifice of being a saviour.

Avril and Mila finding a purple glowing relic

Batora begins in a post-apocalyptic world, where most of Earth has been destroyed by an unknown cataclysmic event. The player takes control of Avril, who is currently suffering from the loss of her older sister Rose due to this doomsday event. While exploring the ruins of Earth, Avril and her friend Mila delve deep inside the ruins of civilisation and discover two amulets that are connected to two unknown entities, the Sun and the Moon. Avril takes up the mantle of a warrior of the sun and moon, unlocking four different planets, each of which guards an elemental essence which Avril needs to acquire to develop the necessary physical and mental fortitude to save Earth. 

Character stat  and equipment screen

The gameplay features an explorative isometric style very similar to Darksiders: Genesis which is part dungeon exploring and action RPG mechanics. You wield the power of the sun and moon, with the sun being your physical-based attacks and the moon being projectile-based. At first glance you are limited to only three abilities for each element which are your core abilities, however, as you progress you will unlock new runes which are equipable and interchangeable. This will alter and change your abilities giving you full access to customise your play style with ability altering and stat manipulation (such as increased physical or range damage, defence and health). The system is extremely simple to get into and eases you into the mechanics before letting you loose with the runes you pick up later on your journey. The various puzzle dungeons are a joy to tuck into and force you to swap between the sun and moon powers to solve them. 

dialogue between Carador and Avril

The story itself offers a multitude of choices to make throughout your journey, with the first one bringing up a pop-up informing the player that the choices you make throughout the game will affect the story but ultimately not to worry about them. Some of these choices will become quite difficult choices to make as each one will have a different outcome, shaping your story as you play. This suggests the intention of players doing multiple playthroughs where the story takes shape with the core narrative being relatively the same, but Avril grows in different ways.

Next to all dialogue is fully voice acted. From the main characters to the many peculiar creatures (friend or foe) you will meet on your journey as you traverse these worlds, the voice acting feels extremely professional and each character conveys the emotion of the current situation perfectly. Equally, the sound design for each world and area fits the tone perfectly, from the fantasy-themed melodies to more sci-fi-rooted tunes, the music itself is very enjoyable.

Aerial view of a puzzle room

The art design itself is beautiful and I’m a big fan of it. I want to say it’s sci-fi rooted with a cel-shaded-esque nature to it, but that would be a disservice. I think the creators described it best over on the website for Batora: Lost Haven: “The Retro Sci-Fi Visuals are one of the key features of Batora: Lost Haven and it’s no secret – actually, quite the opposite as we are extremely proud of it – that we’ve really drawn a lot of inspiration from the intense Sci-fi environments of Paul Lehr, combining them with the Art Nouveau of Alphonse Mucha“. After looking into both of these artists, I can certainly see and understand what they meant by this.

Avril standing between 6 crystals at an altar

This was certainly a game that took me by surprise. I went in expecting just another isometric dungeon-crawler-style game and found so much more. The story was emotionally charged, with fantastic writing and growth for the characters. It’s filled to the brim with beautiful art and music which runs through to the fast-paced but also methodical combat. This all rolls together to create a beautiful game and story. 

9/10 star rating

Developers: Stormind Games, Stormind S.R.L.

Platforms: PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Amazon Luna, Xbox Series X and Series S

Developer: Stormind Games 

Publisher: Team17







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