Haven Park | Nintendo Switch Review
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Ever since playing A Short Hike a few months back, I was hoping for another game which shares this similar theme and vibe. Low and behold, Haven Park bursts onto the scene. Haven Park is developed by Fabian Weibel and published by Mooneye Studios and was released on Windows PC and Nintendo Switch on August 5th. I played Haven Park on the Nintendo Switch Lite, so for the purposes of this review, any gameplay mentioned will refer to the performance on this console.
Meet Flint, an absolutely adorable little yellow bird, who has been tasked by his grandmother to take over and look after Haven Park. The park has seen better days, so you are required to repair fences and signposts, and tend to each of the campsites dotted around the map, in order to attract more visitors to the park. As you progress through the park and discover the campsites, your map will unlock the areas which you have discovered. You also get to interact with the visitors in the park which can be very humourous (I loved the staring contest), or can provide you with more information. Some can even provide you with a side quest for you to complete.
The gameplay is very straightforward. You use the left thumbstick or D-Pad to move around, A to interact with items, and B to jump. I was disappointed that you were unable to fly, as attempting to climb up mounds provided some difficulty. You also move quite slowly in the beginning, but with earning XP and leveling up, you can upgrade your skill levels to make you move faster (albeit slightly) and jump higher. You are also given a book which contains all the information you need: Challenges, Map, Skill levels and points required, and your Inventory. You can also access the settings and the main menu through this book. You have 4 save slots and the game autosaves for you - which can be a blessing and a curse. I would desire games to give the player the option to turn on or off autosave which gives the player more autonomy. Regarding the map and your character's location in the park, I found this a bit challenging in the beginning, as only when you unlock a skill can you find the numbered markers on the map. While having a cartographer as a skill is a clever idea, I found myself becoming slightly frustrated at not knowing where abouts in the park I was at any giving time. I would recommend therefore that this information be made available from the beginning once you have discovered the numbered marker.
I thoroughly enjoyed this game - there are lots of things to do, but you are free to roam around at your own pace. Rebuilding the campsites are straightforward to do, but travelling to different camps can be very time-consuming due to the speed of the bird. The game visuals are stunning, which is where this game excels and I loved the way the camera has centre focus so it blurs the surroundings around you until Flint reaches the area and the shot is in focus. One downside to the camera view is, unfortunately there is no way to change it, and sometimes in tight angles, your view becomes obstructed by higher mounds.
Unfortunately, this game had me comparing it a lot to A Short Hike in many ways as both games are very similar in principle. Therefore I was not incredibly blown away by Haven Park, as a lot of things I saw in this game, I had already experienced in A Short Hike and to another extent, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I felt it did not bring much more to the table than it could have. I also found the movements of Flint a little bit clunky and desired a bit of speed in the bird when I needed to.
Overall, Haven Park is an adorable game which will provide hours of wonderous gameplay. There is no way which you can move through the park without listening to Flint saying "Pew, Pew, Pew". The characters are fun, the storyline is really cute, and you can't help smiling while playing it. There are a few issues regarding bird mechanics and camera angles which could be improved upon - there were also other issues which have been changed through updates recently such as the issue restocking the campfires. Casting the similarities with A Short Hike aside, Haven Park is well worth the investment and is great value for money.
Tina's Rating: 4 pews out of 5.
For more information on Haven Park use the following links...
Many thanks to Mooneye Studios for the Review Key.