Published by Team17 and developed by Stormind Games, Batora: Lost Haven is an action RPG that’s out now for all systems. We tested it on a PlayStation 5.
Stormind’s kind of a regular during this time of the year, but usually their games tie into the Halloween season, as they’re known for the Remothered games. Batora: Lost Haven is quite different though, as an action RPG that lets you play as a young women with a rather sad background story. Avril has seen our planet fall into ruin and her lost her sister, and now finds herself scouring the earth with her friend Mila, scavenging for whatever they can find.
A chance encounter grants Avril sudden powers though, and before you know it you find yourself in a mysterious new environment. The locals are in awe of you because of those powers, but in order to get back to earth and save your own planet you’ll now have to fight for your new home first. This is where you get introduced to your alignment to the powers of the sun and the moon, which means you can switch between the two at any moment in order to activate the corresponding moveset.
It’s the most standout feature of Batora: Lost Haven, as the power of the sun emphasizes melee combat with a large sword whereas your moon powers give you access to ranged attacks. It makes for two distinctly different gameplay styles, from a typical action RPG brawler to a twin stick shooter.
With having to alternate in order to be most effective against certain enemy types, two different health bars and special attacks, a lot of thought went into the combat mechanics of Batora: Lost Haven. We preferred the ranged (moon) combat options over the melee ones though, as melee seemed a bit imbalanced in the sense that it was usually easy to exploit the same attacks over and over again, and straying from that just for the sake of it doesn’t feel worth it.
Fun diversions come in the shape of puzzles that are generally well designed and rely on logic, sequences and various ways in which you can use your new powers to overcome them. And while much of the gameplay unfolds in a linear fashion and the game isn’t that long, you have a number of narrative choices to make over the course of the story that lead to different endings and add a bit of replay value.
Batora: Lost Haven also has a nice and colorful visual style with plenty of diversity between environments, and while it doesn’t wow on a technical level we enjoyed our romp through the story and can easily see ourselves going for a second go in the future. The six hour runtime might be short, but it’s also short enough to make it worthwhile to explore some of those other endings. A successful departure from horror games for the developer.