LifeisXbox’s Haven Park review | Are you looking for a short and sweet game to pass the time on a rainy Sunday? Or has Animal Crossing been sitting there on your Nintendo Switch untouched for a while now and you’re looking for a fresh breath of air? Let me introduce you to Haven Park, a game that’s all about exploring an adorable little island. Developed by Fabien Weibel, Haven Park follows the story of a little yellow bird called Flint. He is tasked with keeping his grandma’s park up and running so campers can enjoy a peaceful time there. This little game definitely showed a lot of promise, and it’s the first game published by Mooneye Studios (who you might know from games like Lost Ember). Now, let’s grab our camping gear and set out on this tiny adventure, shall we?
ℹ️ | We played Haven Park for 4 hours on Nintendo Switch Lite. This game is also available on PC.
What we liked!
- Casual and relaxing gameplay | Haven Park must be one of the most wholesome games I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy. As I mentioned, you’ll be playing as a cute little bird called Flint who gets a blind map of the island. To discover a new area, you need to find the campsite for that specific area. There are 12 campsites, and some are easy to find, others will take a little bit of work! During your search, you’ll also be finding a bunch of resources (wood, fabric, metal, mushrooms, and coins) scattered around. You’re going to need these to make the empty campings into cosy little campsites for your visitors. It’s really easy to figure our what a camping needs, as it’s indicated on the bottom of the screen. Whether you need shelter, food, rest, activities, or decorations, it’s all there. There aren’t that many options but it’s enough to build yourself some cute campings. The only thing you have to worry about is getting the resources to build everything. Resources will also be needed for several quests, and to repair everything that’s broken in Haven Park, like lanterns, direction signs, and fences. The whole gameplay is just super relaxing, and there is no rush to it. You have casual conversations with the campers, you wander around on the island, and you just chill.
- Art style | I think it’s pretty clear from the screenshots that Haven Park has an absolutely adorable art style. The whole island looks so darn cute, I could wander around forever! The very green grass, the beautiful water, the relaxing beaches, the snowy mountains, it all looks very neat. And so do the campers by the way, all sorts of animals come to visit, and they all look different. I do have to admit that you won’t really have a connection with these campers like you do in say Animal Corssing, but this is a tiny exploration game, so I wasn’t expecting to become best friends with anyone here anyway.
- Variety of quests without pressure | Along the way, you’ll pick up a bunch of quests all around. Some campers will give you something to do, like play a game of hide and seek (still looking for that camper, oops), but things like running into a broken tractor can also accur. The main quest remains finding all camps, and when you do this you ‘finish’ the game. Of course, you can go back to your save and pick up all the side quests. And there are some fun ones, let me tell you! You can maintain the park (you know, by fixing everything that’s broken, a.k.a. the lanterns and stuff I talked about), you can climb up a tower and tkae part in a story (particulary loved this one), or you can find a royal nose for the snowman. There a ton of quests that you can take at your own pace and I love that there is no pressure to finish them. Just take it easy!
- Music and sound effects| During the day, you’ll hear a few different sounds, like happy birds and crows flying around, the wind gushing, or the water flowing. Sound effects are also in place when Flint walks, jumps, or when he walks into something or picks up some resources. There’s also a random ‘pew’ sound when you press A randomly, which I adored for some reason. You can place radio’s on campsites too, by the way, and those play some cool tunes when you’re on said camping.
During nighttime, you can go to one of the campsites and sleep in a tent, cabin or whatever you build there. Or you can continue to walk around. If you choose the second option, you’ll be welcomed with that typical sound of crickets surrounding you. And it’s absolutely wonderful! It’s so calming, and I’m really glad there was no soundtrack for this part of the game, but the focus remained on the peace and quiet.
- Notebook | So, to get around and keep track of everything, you have a notebook. This includes your questions, your inventory, the map, and skills. The quests page is very basic and keeps track of what quests you discovered, and whether or not you finished them. You can click on the quests but you’ll never get a lot of extra information if you’re stuck. Don’t worry though, this is not a particularly hard game, so even if you’re stuck, it won’t be for too long, I’m sure. Then you have your inventory, which is again, basic, but does the job. You start with 300 spaces (these fill up rather quickly, let me tell you) but you can upgrade once by unlocking a skill. The next two pages show you a map and the name of all the campsites. I am absolutely loving the way this map looks, but there is no indicator showing you where Flint is. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Yes, it’s a relatively small island, but still, it’s easy to get lost. I truly understand the decision of the developer not to include a ‘where I’m at marker’, but I think for some (like me), it would’ve been really welcome. The last two pages are reserved for the skills, which I will talk about a little more in-depth.
- Skill system | So, there are 13 skills that you can unlock, including finding more resources, getting a stronger torch to see at night, and selling food at higher prices. In order to unlock these, you’ll need skills points, which you can early by leveling up. Leveling up happens by doing things around the island, of course. Somehow, I feel like this skill system wasn’t really necessary and was just added for the sake of having a skills system. By the time you reach level 10, you’ll have unlocked all the skills and that’s that. Of course, some skills are pretty useful, like being able to carry more resources, being able jump higher, or unlocking new buildings for you campings, but in all honesty, I felt like I could do without the skills.
What we disliked
- Nothing here!
How long to beat the story | 3 to 4 hours
How long to achieve 1000G |5 to 6 hours (no achievements on Switch)
Similar with | A Short Hike, Animal Crossing
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂