Game Review: The Last Haven Tons of Potential. A Struggle Right Now.

Game can be found here if you want to look it over for yourself which I highly advise:

I stumbled upon The Last Haven doing my weekly Game Trailers segment(which you should totally check out, by the way. Happens every Sunday.) and it sparked my interest, so I got it on sale through Steam for $14.99 instead of the usual $20.00. After putting in a little over 30hrs I feel like I can give a proper review/first impression as the game is continually being updated by the developer. Who is doing this all solo, so also take that into consideration during this review.

So, lets begin. The Last Haven is a post apocalyptic survival, simulation, base builder, kinda RTS mix up of a game. It sounds weird, but trust me it's not. The whole point of the game is to survive the harsh winter, zombies and marauder/bandit attacks. I guess the dev really wanted the "survive the winter" aspect because winter never seems to end after the first 30 days or so of summer.

You can't really tell but there's a bunch of starving icons and freezing icons above the peoples' heads. This is common during winter if you do things completely wrong.

Like most other base builders/simulators you have to gather resources to survive. You construct sawmills, rock crushers, greenhouses, warehouses to store said resources, housing for your community and other things as well. Like a Laboratory you absolutely need in order to research upgrades for your community so build it ASAP as research seems to take forever.

It's important to remember that this game is in Early Access on Steam and is a continuous work in progress. The developer is constantly listening to the community and implementing bug fixes and updates to the game. So, some of the gripes I'm about to list may not even exist in the next day or week. Which is a good thing.

The Bad: 1) There's a terrible resource balance issue at the moment. I don't know how the dev plans on fixing this but the buildings cost more resources to build than what you can seemingly produce.

2) Researching upgrades/new tech takes too long.

3) There's no way to upgrade buildings from say Greenhouse 1 to Greenhouse 2. You have to disassemble these buildings and build brand new ones. You at least get about 70% of the materials back but still, this seems like an oversight that doesn't need to be.

4) When your soldiers run out of ammo for their weapon, there's a 50/50 shot they will run to the warehouse and get a new weapon. Otherwise, they will rush into battle with knives and before long, you have no soldiers. This is also true with armors. Sometimes they'll go into the warehouse to equip what you produce, sometimes they won't.

5) The Hospital and Bar are seemingly useless at the moment. The members of your community/soldiers hardly ever seem to go to the hospital to get themselves fixed up, allowing their health bars to tick away and they'll just collapse and die on you. The Bar is also supposed to help with healing, radiation and overall happiness(stability) but it doesn't seem to do currently do *anything* for your community.

6) Bringing in refugees causes a -5 penalty to stability. While this is understandable(bringing in strangers to an established community) considering there is no other way to make your community grow in size, this only makes things harder than it needs to be.

7) Once your initial 30 days of summer are over, you're left with having to constantly battle the cold. This wouldn't be so bad as long as the resource balancing wasn't so terrible and researching the upgrades to the buildings didn't take so long. Once the temp hits 0, any building that can't sustain those temps is automatically disassembled and you lose the production(Mainly greenhouses at the moment, shacks I guess too but I see them as a waste of resources in general when you can research houses and build those instead.)

8) Zombie attacks and marauder attacks after the first few encounters become overwhelming. Since you can't grow your community without taking in refugees, and people will drop dead from being diseased/hurt, or your soldiers will sometimes bring a knife to a gun fight, you lose way too many people to actually build up a decent defense against marauders and zombies. Especially the marauders. Later in the game they seem to be outfitted with heavy assault rifles, heavy armors, and come in groups no less than 4 or 5. Unless you invest heavily in turning every refugee you get into a soldier via the Barracks(which, you can only have a max of 4 and each Barracks can "create" 8 soldiers.) it's only a matter of time before you simply get overrun by zombies or marauders.

9) There's no mini-map to speak of and the map itself opens up in an unexplained manner. You're initially locked into this small little area but it gets a little larger once you're a few days into winter and keeps growing the longer you survive. A neat little extra is that the player can "scavenge" resources found on the map as well. These seem to be one time ordeals, especially for the food items which seem to mostly disappear after winter, but ever so often the resources will show up sparsely throughout the map. Also the Fog of War is annoying. If you save your game and come back to it you have to "rediscover" areas all over again that don't have buildings/people already there.

10) Building space is extremely limited at the moment. You can't build over anything(existing trees, rocks, junk piles, etc..) and you can't build on land that's already been cleared by your sawmill or rock crusher. There's also no way to demolish existing buildings, or re-purpose them so they just end up taking up valuable space after they've been scavenged.

11) Your soldiers will just randomly decide to up and run off to a house or other building. This can also happen *during* combat. You can hotkey up to 4 of them so you can kinda have 4 on call at all times, and the Barracks allows for a "military recall" or something like that to bring all the soldiers to the Barracks, but keeping up with where your "free" soldiers are can get annoying. Especially if you've selected 5 or 6 of them to help with a zombie or marauder attack, and when they arrive at the destination you told them to go, only 3 of them are there and the others buggered off into random buildings. The Good: 1) The game runs pretty smoothly, has a simplistic yet appeasing art style, the audio is decent enough and the soundtrack is not too terrible either. All in all very good for just one person creating this game.

2) The game is easy to play in-and-of-itself and veterans of the genre can pick this game up no problem.

3) Constant support and update from the developer.

4) The potential for the developer to create something huge from this project is there. This developer is someone to watch and see what they do with their career.

5) Everything "works" the way it should. You point and click somewhere, your soldiers essentially go there. You click on a building, the menu comes up for it. You click on the Research tab, it comes up. The mechanics work the way they are intended to work, just need balancing/polishing is all.


So, if you've made it this far you might be wondering why the hell I even bothered buying this game and suggesting you guys give it a try? Well, it's because the game has tons of potential, the developer is doing constant updates and is actually listening to the community members by instituting a lot of the suggestions made in the forums.

I think that in just a few short weeks this game will be well worth playing, especially for the $20 price tag. You can always put this on your Steam wish list and wait for it to go back on sale if you aren't sold on it at full price but are interested in playing it. I don't regret my purchase at all.