LifeisXbox’s Heaven Dust 2 review | Sometimes a good game gets an unexpected sequel, and that’s when people realize how much they actually wanted it. I’m talking about Heaven Dust 2, the stand-alone sequel to the survival horror thriller Heaven Dust that came out in 2020. Developed by One Gruel Studio and published by Indienova, we follow the story of Steve, who wakes up from a cryogenic pod inside the First Research Center. It’s not necessary to play the first game in order to be able to enjoy the second installment in the series, which makes it a perfect game for me to try out. Let me already tell you that I fell head over heels in love with this game and the first title in this series is on my to-play list for sure!
Most Memorable Moment
My most memorable moment in Heaven Dust 2 was the first half-hour of gameplay. I’m usually not into survival horror games, but from the moment I started playing Heaven Dust 2, I loved absolutely everything about the game. The puzzles, the combat, the exploration, the (mutated) zombies, the graphics, it all just clicked and I had so much fun right away. Maybe it’s a weird ‘most memorable moment’ but I did not see this coming at all when I launched the game.
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we Liked!
- Graphics and sounds | I’m a big of the art style that was used in Heaven Dust 2. As this is a survival horror game, the graphics are perfectly matched. There is a mysterious dark atmosphere throughout the entire game, and the facility you’re in is clearly overrun by zombies. Even though the art theme is quite gloomy, there is still enough light to see what you’re doing, so that was great. And honestly, for a game that is quite dark, the color that is there is rather bright yet containing this gloominess, which turns out to be a great combination. The sound only helps strengthen the graphics and gameplay, which is how it should be in a game. From Steve’s footsteps to the gruesome sounds of zombies nearby, everything helps amplify the horror theme of Heaven Dust 2.
- Combat and weapons | Facing those brain eating zombies in combat was so much fun. You start out with a pretty basic weapon but soon you’ll find much stronger weapons such as shotguns and grenades. Your weapons can also be upgraded, making them even more useful. Resource management is also rather important in this game though, as you have limited inventory space so maybe try and pick up the bullets for the weapons that you have rather than for the weapons you don’t have (yet). Some enemies are more sensitive to specific weapons so there’s quite some strategic thinking involved as well.
- Puzzles and exploring | What makes Heaven Dust 2 so much fun (in my opinion) is its well-designed combination of combat and puzzling, but also exploring and action. While there is no shortage of zombies chasing you, there are a bunch of puzzles that need solving in order to advance as well. These mystery puzzles are never too hard to solve, and can often be worked out with some logical thinking and exploring around. And this is coming from someone who is not too great at puzzling, so don’t worry if you’re not either! While in some games backtracking can feel annoying and dull, returning to the same locations always felt like a thrill here. I swear the constant (re)exploring of spaces was incredibly fun.
- Enemies | When you hear a game is going to be about fighting zombies, there might pop a thought in your head telling you all enemies will be the same. Luckily, this is not the case in Heaven Dust 2. Besides your traditional zombies, there are plenty of mutated variations walking around and trying to get to you. They vary in looks, but also in speed, and abilities, so beware of those fast suckers coming at you all of the sudden. Of course, there is also a fair share of boss battles involved. Something I had a love/hate relationship with regarding the enemies was the respawning. It’s not that I did not enjoy it, but damn, did this cause me to die quite some times. Still, it’s so much fun fighting them, finding their weakspots and blowing out their brains.
- Replay value | Even if you do just one playthrough, I believe Heaven Dust 2 is well worth its price. However, if you really like the game, I have some good news for you. Heaven Dust 2 offers two separate endings! The game offers two different escape routes so it’s up to the player to pick how the game ends. There are also three difficulty modes (Casual, Normal, Expert) if you want to challenge yourself a little more on your second run. And with no less than 90 achievements, you’ll have plenty to do.
- Camera | I do not mind playing from a top-down perspective at all, but in Heaven Dust 2, it simply doesn’t always work. You’re moving around in a dark institute, going through small spaces, avoiding zombies, and the camera was just kind of annoying sometimes. I felt like, at times, I couldn’t properly see everything that was happening, and then a zombie ended up surprising me. There is no possibility to move around the camera yourself, which I would have definitely appreciated.
- Health | When you’re killing (mutated) zombies, some sort of health circle pops up above their head and it’s pretty clear when they’re almost dead. However, it’s less clear Steve himself is wounded and near dead. At first, I thought there wasn’t even a health bar for the protagonist, which didn’t make sense to me. I looked it up and apparently the image of Steve in the lower left corner of the screen gradually gets worse when he’s hurt. Either I missed this in the instructions, or the game simply didn’t explain it properly. So, my tip for you is to look at Steve his face and how bad he looks! And not to worry, there are ways to heal yourself, like picking up herbs and combing them into healing items!
What we Disliked
- Not a single thing, wow!
How long to beat the story | About 5 to 7 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 20+ hours
Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂