If my translation from Press Release-ese is correct, I believe that sci-fi archaeological adventure Heaven’s Vault will launch on April 16th. Probably a little easier than translating alien hieroglyphs, which seems to be the core of Inkle’s next story-driven puzzler. Unlike the studio’s earlier 80 Days, which was easy-going interactive fiction, this one poses more direct challenges, but will apparently bend its narrative around your choices and even failures. They boldly claim that it’s “a story that will be different for every person who plays it”, and after 80 Days, I’m eager to see them make good on that next month.
Even being utterly rubbish at anything involving languages (it’s honestly a miracle they pay me to write given some of the nonsense I come up with), Heaven’s Vault has been high on my wishlist for a while. Brendan has had a chance to poke around the game and describes it as “alien Duolingo”. One of the biggest hooks of the game is that deciphering this alien language isn’t a graded challenge. You won’t get a little pop-up or a noise or achievement for guessing a sentence right and you can end up with a dozen mistranslated words because of a poor theory made early on.
In any other game that would sound punishing and cruel, but Heaven’s Vault is about archaeology and trying to understand the past – even an alien one – through a modern lens. There’s more to it than just clicking around scribbles and making notes, though. There’s a missing scientist to be found, and you’ve got a partially holographic robot buddy to help you in your investigation. I’m interested to see how just how much the traditional adventuring and conversations interact with the linguistic puzzling, and fortunately don’t have much longer to wait to find out.
Heaven’s Vault launches on April 16th, although those at EGX Rezzed in London on April 4th-6th will be able to try out a demo early and meet the devs. You can find the game here on Steam or on its official page here.