Top-Down Topiary: Shattered Haven

I saw the screenshots for Arcen’s newly-released horror game Shattered Haven and immediately cleared a gap in my schedule to play it. Previously, I was going to spend the time making broth or forcing people to listen to Aphex Twin’s early ambient works, but a spot of top-down terror takes precedence over all things. Slight disappointment crept in when I watched the trailer and realised that my imagination had run away with me somewhat, assuming the game to be turn-based and tactical. Silly imagination. It’s actually a lo-fi, environmental puzzler, with killing, traps and optional co-op. I’ll still try it but I’ll be making broth and siphoning Green Calx into peoples’ ears before I sit down to play.

It must be noted that the voice does not lend itself to the creation of a horrific or tense environment.

Shattered Haven is available now direct from Arcen, or from various digital stores, including GoG and GamersGate.


  1. Eclipse says:

    has Arcen games decided to have bad graphics in all their games as a signature thing?
    I was like “wow this thing looks like an Arcen game”

    • CMaster says:

      Tidalis, where the art was done by someone non-Arcen looks alright. Other than that, varying degrees of ugly do seem to permeate their games. Although both this and AI War are functional, it’s only AVWW that is actually offensive.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It’s weird. Judging from this and A Valley Without Wind, It’s like they don’t pick the appropriate scope for their graphics.

      • Crimsoneer says:

        AVWW 2 actually looks pretty sleek, and is free for all owners of te first game..although the animations are still bad.

    • Dominic White says:

      The sad thing here is that AVWW2 and Shattered Haven both have outsourced art, and it only manages to be fractionally better than their usual in-house programmer-art.

      • iucounu says:

        Art’s a funny thing. Part of my day job is doing picture books for kids, and part of that is looking at illustrators and seeing if I can match them to texts. It’s endlessly surprising what does well in any given market. The USA likes completely different art to the UK, which likes different stuff to mainland Europe, and so on. There’s stuff up for the Greenaway Medal (our most prestigious illustration prize) every year that baffles me.

  2. paulsoaresjr says:

    I bought this a couple of weeks ago, hoping for a replacement of the defunct “Rogue Survivor” (link to Haven’t spent more than a few minutes just getting my feet wet. So many indies, so little time…

  3. Kefren says:

    I bought this when GOG told me about it. The music and idea seems interesting. For some reason I expected a rogue-like, the videos show it isn’t like that, but I’m still looking forward to playing it.

  4. zbmott says:

    If it’s supposed to be a horror game, you could probably multitask by playing Shattered Heaven and making people listen to Aphex Twin! Simultaneously! And it wouldn’t even be too incongruent!

  5. Otter says:

    Definitely down on the Aphex Twin. Broth, not so much, but thanks.

  6. Jupiah says:

    That voiceover for the trailer was pretty awesome and really got me interested in the game. The graphics… not so much.

    Anyone played it yet? I’m conflicted and need some opinions.

    • MrHanMan says:

      I bought it during the beta, and I’ve really been enjoying it. I think it’s kind of like a puzzle-y, old-school Zelda game. That’s selling it a bit short, though.

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      It’s mostly a puzzle game in the sense that combat ends up being rather puzzle-like.

      Most of the “weapons” you get tend to be the indirect sort that require some kind of setup beforehand to use, and the ones that are more direct tend to be of limited availability or limited effect.

      Killing an enemy often involves trying to get them in the right spot for whatever “weapons” you have available to work. For example, maybe you blow a hole in the floor and try to get them to fall in, maybe you lay some spikes and try to herd an enemy so they walk over the spikes, maybe you get a bunch of explosives and you try to get your enemies into spaces where you have enough room to blow them up without blowing yourself up, and stuff like that.
      A lot of the levels have various odd obstacles that sometimes affect you and your enemy differently and sometimes you get tools you can use on the obstacles and terrain, which can add to the complexity of setting up the above.
      The levels start out fairly simple but they can get rather elaborate and difficult, especially later on.

      I’d almost compare it to a Bomberman of sorts in the sense that it involves a lot of “puzzle-combat” except with other odd weapons instead of bombs (though the game does have bombs).

      The game also has a level editor.

  7. Elevory says:

    You had me at “Aphex Twin”.

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  9. The Random One says:

    This does look very interesting, but I think I’ll wait for a demo or something. The trailer wasn’t really explicit about what gameplay feels like.

  10. strangeloup says:

    I was playing TF2 the other night and ended up facing off versus a ridiculously good Pyro who went by the name of Green Calx. I knew I’d heard the name before somewhere but it wasn’t until this article when it clicked.

    I’m also kind of interested in this because I like Arcen’s other stuff, but at the same time I’m a bit reticent to buy it with no demo or proper reviews yet.