Captured on Nintendo Switch (Connected)

Italian studio Stormind Games burst onto the scene in 2016 alongside the announcement of Remothered: Tormented Fathers, a decent survival horror game that eventually made its way to Switch. After its most critically acclaimed sequel dropped two years later, the studio decided to move on to another genre with a new project, complete with an original IP that the company had more control over. That project is Batora: Lost Haven, an isometric action RPG set in an alien world. Batora launched late last year on other platforms to average reviews; now it’s on Switch, and we understand why. Batara is not a place game, but it’s not particularly good either.

Batora begins in a post-apocalyptic land and plays you Avril, a brave teenager who wanders the ruins of London with her best friend, Mila. Suddenly, Avril is taken to the alien planet of Gryja by two divine icons of the sun and the moon, who grant her their powers and name her their champion. Avril is then tasked with defeating the forces that destroyed Earth (and several other planets), absorbing a bunch of elemental energy from certain planetary cores, and restoring balance to the universe. Or something like that.

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Connected)

Batora’s story is passable, but we didn’t find it particularly memorable or interesting. It’s the epitome of a bland isekai narrative and doesn’t go out of its way to do anything interesting with its premise. This is compounded by the fact that Avril herself is a rather unlikable character, due to both poor writing and weak voice acting. Her demeanor reminded us of Forspoken’s Frey, always sassy and irreverent in a way that makes it seem like she’s trying too hard to sound “cool”, while her harsh-voiced performance robbed any emotional moments of the weight that they always had. they were supposed to convey.

The only source of redemption here is the occasional story key points where you’re given a “good” or “bad” option. Some of them are clearer, but many decisions force you to choose the lesser of two evils, and the results of your decisions have permanent consequences for the story. In one instance, we were surprised when we were sent on a mission to free a character being held hostage. The problem arose when we realized that our choice could force us to condemn a small town of mere creatures to starvation. We let the creatures live, but that meant the hostage was dead and another character hated us for letting that happen. Moments like these are truly awesome, and we wish the remaining 90% of the storytelling was worth it.

Batora: Lost Haven Review - Screenshot 3 of 5Captured on Nintendo Switch (Connected)

Batora’s gameplay loop takes the form of an isometric hack ‘n’ slash with some elements of light exploration and puzzle solving, much like Darksiders Genesis. The environments are pretty linear in their layouts, but there are sometimes side roads you can take to find stashes of currency and materials that you can trade for upgrades. As you progress through the story, you’ll slowly unlock new abilities to expand your combat options and gain an ever-growing list of equippable upgrades that will allow you to modify your build. It’s a pretty solid system, but it also feels exhausting and mundane because it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Guiding a weighted object to a switch to open a door was an exaggerated concept in Zelda games a decade ago, and such puzzles here seem to exist more out of a sense of obligation than to add something meaningful to the experience.

It’s not all rough, though. Combat is the best part of Batora, with just enough variety to keep even basic enemy encounters interesting. Avril has two forms she can take: the solar form focuses on close range melee attacks and the moon form is based on using ranged attacks, and you will need to switch between the two regularly while fighting. enemies. Each enemy is color-coded to match one of Avril’s forms, and attacking them in the corresponding form means she deals more damage to them and takes less damage herself. As you move away from monsters in a form, you then build a combo meter that can be activated for the other form, granting a temporary damage increase and a small heal.

Batora: Lost Haven Review - Screenshot 4 of 5Captured on Nintendo Switch (Connected)

Although the animations can feel a little stiff at times, we appreciate the dynamic combat feel. Balancing ability cooldowns on each form while switching between them every few seconds is nice once you get the basic rhythm of combat figured out. Enemies also apply just enough pressure that it’s necessary to use all of Avril’s gear instead of just unleashing one or two attacks over and over. Boss battles particularly highlight these strengths, presenting simple yet engaging challenges across multiple phases that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

April gets stronger through an easy leveling system, but things get a little more interesting when you add runes to the mix. Avril can equip more than one, and each usually boosts a few stats in one of her forms while taking a slight stat debuff in the other. So you need to be selective with which stats you want to prioritize for each form, and it can be fun to experiment with different loadouts. Adding more complexity is the fact that most runes have a cost that is directly tied to your moral choices. When you make a story decision, you gain skill points tied to the side you’ve chosen, and there are only a limited number of them. Each story decision can therefore affect the type of gear you can use, which introduces a fun extra layer to the choices you make.

Batora: Lost Haven Review - Screenshot 5 of 5Captured on Nintendo Switch (Connected)

In terms of presentation, Batora uses a thick, somewhat cartoonish art style that isn’t too far off from Blizzard’s own style. is not a amazing art direction, but we appreciate what the team is doing here and think it complements the gameplay well. The only issue is that playing in handheld mode can make the footage too blurry due to the low resolution, which can make it hard to read what’s going on in battles when there’s a lot going on. We didn’t notice any frame drops, but we still recommend playing this one in docked mode.

The soundtrack, meanwhile, is a notable highlight for Batora, with tracks composed by Ron Fish, who contributed heavily to the games Batman: Arkham and God of War, and the kind of epic, heroic tone of those tapes. sound is present here. . The music infuses the action with a great sense of purpose and adds a lot more weight, especially to the pre-rendered scenes. The music isn’t worth buying the game per se, but those of you who do take the plunge will likely be happy with what’s on offer here.


Batora: Lost Haven is the perfect example of a terribly poor experience. The few things it does well, like its energetic combat and engaging pick system, are nothing I’ve seen anywhere else before, while the things it lacks, like its storytelling and puzzle design, really take your breath away. of their sails. Batora has his redeeming traits, but he seems to be the one who never brings it all together in a meaningful way. It’s the type of game we wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying. oh hop; If you think this is your thing, then maybe it’s worth it if you can put it up for sale, but you won’t miss much if you decide to pass.

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