El malvado Vetch ha esclavizado a la población y la ha infectado con un virus que los convierte en zánganos que trabajan en las minas o forman parte de la extensa guardia real. Cuando el mejor amigo de Haven cae bajo el hechizo llega la hora de pasar a la acción. Haven busca el consejo de un sabio que le recomienda escapar pero es capturado y trasladado a una estación espacial. Allí es infectado por el virus y le otorgan el equipo propio de los esclavos y un láser para la explotación minera. Pero Haven logra liberarse y modifica su dispositivo, convirtiéndolo en una bola mágica: un arma que es capaz de proteger a nuestro héroe y atacar a sus enemigos a la vez.
La aventura de Haven tiene lugar a lo largo de cuarenta niveles, en cinco planetas principales a los que puede llegarse viajando por el espacio.
It's a fine old time to be a closet PS2 platformer fan. Hell, what with Jak And Daxter having opened the door to sublimely realised, free-roaming gap-jumping, and Ratchet & Clank turning a one-off into a trend, it may well be time to burst out of the closet and chop it into match wood.
And if these two epic platformers have raised the genre way beyond the status of guilty pleasure, the knowledge that Midway and Traveller's Tales (Crash Bandicoot: Wrath Of Cortex) have decided to join the party with their own inspired spin on cartoon adventuring can only be a good thing. Just how good Haven: Call Of The King is shaping up to be was firmly in our minds as we sat down to play it...
On one hand, Haven is every bit the model platformer. You have a reluctant hero beset by enemies and yoked to an emerging destiny that will cast him as the saviour of a down-trodden people. You've got objects to collect, energy to absorb and containers to bash, smash and manipulate. You've even got innovation on these staples. By gathering feathers it's possible to summon a mechanical bird/buddy called Talon to help you out.
Energy can be used to power shields but will also charge up plasma zip lines, transporting you to hidden locations and other machinery. There's also a smart incentive to keep hoarding, in the shape of a naturally occurring antidote to a virus Haven and his people have been infected with by the game's arch nemesis, Lord Vetch. Fail to keep collecting this and you'll die. Plain and simple.
But if you think leaping from ledge to floating ledge with occasional pit stops to endure the ramblings of the ubiquitous platformer cast of 'wacky' NPCs is Haven's lot, you'd be mistaken. You see, developer Traveller's Tales has created a spiffy new game engine specifically for Haven. It's the jam in the game's doughnut, enabling the adventure to hop, skip and jump from one type of gameplay to another.
Here's an example of what this means in practice. Say you start a session with a spot of traditional platforming. Before you end, it's possible to have manned a gun emplacement, flown a glider, fought to the death in an enemy infested arena, swam, raced around in buggies, solved puzzles and buzzed around strapped to a jetpack. Oh, and did we mention the space ships? Later sections allow you to leave the planet's surface and warp to other worlds! What's more, you can fly from orbit to surface in one uninterrupted flight.
Impressive? Well, yes. And yet there's a perverse and persistent fly currently hovering around Haven's rich ointment. So rammed solid with gameplay shifts and (largely) good ideas is Haven, that it can, on occasion, play like a series of great mini games rather than the unified, plot-driven whole it's aiming to be.
This said, you can't fault the game's energy and ambition. All we hope is that the finished adventure will immerse the gamer with its plot and not simply invite them to surf a wave of challenges.