“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” – John Muir
Haven Park is a cute, casual building sim that has players take on the role of Flint, a young chicken after his Grandma asks him to take over responsibility for the family business, an idyllic nature park. It’s his job to bring the place out of disrepair and create a cosy getaway for the campers to enjoy!
Developer: Fabien Weibel
Released: 5th August 2021
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
Flint’s main objectives around Haven Park are to repair the many broken items such as lamposts and bridges and to discover all of the different campsites and build them up. Resources including wood, metal, fabric and mushrooms, as well as coins, can be found by exploring and must be gathered in order to conduct any maintenance. The campsites need to be built up with shelter, campfires, food and entertainment facilities and more. Flint needs to accomplish this whilst also talking to the guests and ensuring their satisfaction.
In addition to the building aspects of the game, Flint will also acquire quests such as fixing a cable car, playing hide and seek and delivering letters. These can be tracked by looking at his notebook which also contains a map of the sizeable island, weighted inventory and a list of available skills. These skills provide perks such as collecting extra resources or increased movement speed and can be purchased with skill points obtained by levelling up. Experience is awarded for most actions including finding resources, completing quests and repairing things.
The controls are straightforward but playing with a controller was preferable to the keyboard option due to the lack of mouse support. The only other small complaint is the fixed camera view as it would have been nice to explore the park with a bit more visual freedom,
Haven Park’s gameplay is incredibly relaxing and laid back with no timers, fall damage or death making for a casual, family-friendly experience. The overall concept is made all the more adorable by small additions such as being able to blow dandelions or light lamps with fireflies.
Haven Park uses a warm and vibrant colour palette with a low-poly art style that matches the cute characters and overall tone of the game perfectly. The lighting effects are upbeat during the days and super cosy at night adding to the wholesome feel.
The lovely ambient sound effects, such as the crackle of the campfire and the crickets at night are really atmospheric and connect the player to the game. As for the music, a few jolly audio tracks play sporadically, such as if you buy a radio for the campsites or whilst in the main menu. This minimal and unobtrusive implementation works well, helping create a calming overall experience.
The game’s overarching narrative is that of Flint’s newfound responsibilities, having taken over the care of Haven Park from his Grandma. Though this is largely delivered through the gameplay and the act of completing the various tasks, there are a couple of short cutscenes featuring the two characters which help bring the story to life. Additionally, the game provides small side stories in the form of discussions with guests or specific quests. The narrative elements are fairly minimal but emphasise the overall cuteness of the experience and create some heartwarming moments.
Haven Park is a delightfully relaxing addition to the building sim genre. It is perhaps a little shorter than might be expected of this type of game but provides a cohesive and well-rounded experience that is more than fairly priced. The minimal but endearing narrative and adorable styling come together with the engaging but low-pressure gameplay to create a fun game that is both satisfying and relaxing.
Want to try more games like this? Take a look at:
A Short Hike Review – Just An Easy Climb – Luna’s Fishing Garden: A Delightful New Fishing and Building Game – The Stillness of the Wind – A Relaxing Game with Goats!