[Nintendo Switch] Heaven’s Vault Review
Solve the mysteries of civilizations past by way of archeological studies, deciphering an ancient language. Check out our Heaven’s Gate review!
When a talented roboticist goes missing, archaeologist Aliya Elasra and her robot assistant Six are sent onto the rivers of the Nebula to find him. Their search soon has them piecing together an ancient trail of artifacts, inscriptions, and lost knowledge that leads thousands of years into the past…
The Switch edition of Heaven’s Vault is the definitive version, containing over 3,000 words to decipher, the main story lasting 20+ hours, beautiful character art with thousands of hand-drawn frames, lush and stylized 3D environments, endless New Game Plus, and thousands of secrets.
Will you uncover the path to Heaven’s Vault?
Heaven’s Gate is an interesting title, presented as a narrative adventure where you can potentially decipher an ancient language and solve mysteries. Unlock other games where you play the archeologist, this isn’t your typically Uncharted or Tomb Raider experience. There are no gunfights or daring escapes, so this is an adventure that is literally about doing the job, thus becoming an archeologist.
The game introduces you to Aliya and her robot Six, as they are called into the boss’s office, with whom you seem to have an adversarial relationship. You are quickly sent on a mission to find a missing professor, which will span multiple moons. The big focus on the game is its story, driving you forward on your search, and your experience with this may vary over the game’s many hours.
The key mechanic of the game is solving the ancient language you’ll run into as you try to decipher it based on the different symbols you’ll find during your journey. There is some guesswork involved as you try and repeat some of the characters you’ve already run into, paying attention to what is being said during each story segment. When you decide your translations are correct, they will be added to your vocabulary for the language so that if you see it down the line in other spots, you can remember what you’ve already complete and start to form sentences.
You will have moments when you realize your translation won’t be correct. You’ll notice these mistakes when forming larger phases. It won’t sound correct, but your character will actually let you know that what you’re trying to piece together doesn’t feel right. I really liked this mechanic, but your mileage may vary depending on how you take on the whole archeology angle. It’s certainly different from other puzzle games I’ve played!
You wander the beautiful sci-fi world with its gorgeous hand-drawn presentation, and I do have to say the world-building from the team is impressive, as you sail between planets and experience the beautiful vistas. You get a lot of time to take in the world since your character does move at a slow, plodding pace. This certainly matches the overall feel of Heaven’s Vault since, as I mentioned before, this one is not a game packed with action.
I think that’s my biggest sticking point with the game is that it can end up feeling too long. At times, I felt that this would have felt better as an 8-10 hour adventure since you’re going to be spending close to 20 hours to see everything that Heaven’s Vault has to offer. There are definitely some cool ideas in this game and some great performances by the voice actors involved in the project, not to mention a great visual art style for the look of the game and how new words are presented – everything in the game is so beautiful! But sometimes, I did think there was a bit of bloat and that a tighter narrative for some story segments would have been a better choice,
I think this particular does a lot of things right, and I was really intrigued with the whole experience as I played it for this Heaven’s Vault review. While there is some bloat here and there, it’s an adventure that you should definitely experience on Nintendo Switch since it’s a unique type of game with gameplay mechanics that make it stand out. Having to discover and build an ancient language based on your findings is a clever way of connecting with the whole thing. It’s a really smart gameplay loop, which I haven’t seen in any other game before. Heaven’s Vault is out today ln Nintendo Switch with a $17.99 asking price.
This Heaven’s Vault review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by inkle.