Zombies, zombies, and more zombies. The living dead are everywhere in gaming now days, not that I’m complaining. I personally love zombies, but I will admit that zombies as a genre is a bit over done. Then enters Shattered Haven an indie game with zombies, well kind of. There are zombies in Shattered Haven, but they are called Greys. Instead of chopping them to death with axes they can only be hurt by iron, water, or fire. It’s a different approach that ties into the gameplay well. Shattered Haven takes inspiration from puzzle games like Adventures of Lolo. Players will traverse maps placing traps and killing Greys to progress through the games story. Gameplay can be a harrowing experience using yourself as bait to lure Greys to step on iron tacks, which are deadly the touch for them. Fans of top down puzzles will appreciate the retro feel the game has.
The game just isn’t puzzles either, but manages to tell an interesting story. Right from the start I was intrigued and wanted to know more about this bizarre world I was in. The beginning of the story is introduced with creepy artwork and narration which I really enjoyed. I lost that creepy feeling however once I jumped into the game. Graphics for the game have a retro vibe, which is fine, but for me this made the Greys seem less threatening and even cartoony. It broke the atmosphere, and reminded me that I’m playing a game.
Shattered Haven leaves me with mixed feelings. I really wanted to like the game. The story kept me interested, the game world for cool and interesting, but at the end of the day, the gameplay didn’t grab me. This was odd as I typically enjoy puzzle games. After several more attempts the game ultimately could not hook me. I’m not sure if it’s the game or just my personally preference that led me to this conclusion. This has been one of the hardest reviews I’ve written in a long time, but for me Shattered Haven seems like a mixed bag. The game has lots of potential, but ultimately the fun and experience of the game was lost on me. However, if are a fan of top down puzzles from the early days of gaming the low cost of entry makes Shattered Haven something to check out.