Batora: Lost Haven

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: RPG/Action
Developer: Stormind Games
Release Date: Oct. 20, 2022


As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

Switch/PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC Preview - 'Batora: Lost Haven'

by Cody Medellin on Aug. 30, 2022 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Built on a rich action-RPG foundation, Batora follows Avril — a regular 16-year old girl, not a natural-born hero — as she realizes, after losing everything she cares for, that she is the only one who can save a dying planet Earth from oblivion.

Last year, we checked out the demo for Batora: Lost Haven. Even though it was still early, the demo showed off a good deal of the combat system, some puzzle scenarios, and some story consequences of your choices. With the game now inching closer to a full release, we played the latest demo to see how it's going.

Unlike last year's demo, Batora gets you closer to the beginning of the full game, where you get a chance to roam a ruined Earth. After a bit of wandering and world-building, Batora whisks you into a dream realm where you're declared a champion by the guardians, Sun and Moon. You wake up on an alien planet, where you discover that the key to saving the Earth lies in helping all of the other planets you travel to.

The "fish out of water" situation is nothing new, as is the reluctant hero bit. What is intriguing is how untrustworthy everyone seems to be. From the guardians helping you to the aliens you meet, everyone seems to be looking out for their own best interests, with secrets to hide and potential ulterior motives at play. For a game that wants to emphasize how choice always has consequences, the graying of other characters drives you to make your own decisions, as there's no obvious good or evil path to follow. Based on the sampling in the demo, the rest of the story has the potential to throw some interesting characters your way.

The combat system and puzzle systems are reliant on color as a mechanic, since your character can possess the abilities given to her by the orange Sun and the blue Moon. The puzzles are self-explanatory; your color determines which switches you'll hit and which floors are stable enough for you to stand on. It may get more complicated later, but for now, it's simple enough to figure out.

The combat is a mix of many things. Pick the power of the Sun, and you'll wield a large sword. Switch over to the Moon, and you'll shoot balls of energy. Both powers let you use either the face buttons or right analog stick for weapons on a controller, and both give you roughly the same moves, whether it's dodging or using special abilities, like an energy tornado or a powerful sword slam. Color also plays a big role, since it determines how much damage you deliver to an enemy. Hybrid foes sporting both colors are fine with either weapon, but ones that sport only one color are susceptible to more damage if you match your attacking color to them; similarly, they take on very little health loss if you attack them with an opposing color.

One thing we noticed this time around is that the combat feels slower than before. Sword swings feel slower due to a longer wind-up time, and you'll dodge often because you won't be able to knock out enemies before they can counter you. There's still time in the development cycle to address this, and hopefully the final combat feels crisper.

For those interested in playing this title on a Steam Deck, Batora is already working fairly well on it so far. The game starts off with a 1920x1080p resolution, and everything else is set to medium by default. The game looks quite clean during gameplay, but models can get blurry when the camera gets low during dialogue sequences. The frame rate holds at or near 60fps most of the time, but entering a new area produces a few seconds of stuttering. Without modifying anything, you can get a little over three hours of playtime on average on the machine. This is just a demo, so there's a good chance that the final game can be optimized to squeeze the most out of the handheld.

Batora: Lost Haven looks promising. The color-changing combat adds an interesting twist, even though the overall speed feels slower than expected. The puzzles are fine and simple, and the worlds look fascinating, since this viewpoint is mostly used for medieval fantasy rather than sci-fi. With that said, it is the story that will likely captivate; almost every character you meet seems to have more nuance, depending on what they may or may not be hiding. Hopefully Batora lives up to its potential when it releases later this fall.

More articles about Batora: Lost Haven
blog comments powered by Disqus