Review: Heaven’s Hope
Point and click adventure games are probably one of my favorite genres in gaming. In fact, when I saw Telltale’s games I was initially unimpressed with the formula, seeing it as a dilution of a classic genre. However, as I got into the newer style of adventure games, I started to realize that the term ‘classic’ can also be a synonym for outdated. Heaven’s Hope has gone for that classic point and click feel, and the result is a game that feels slightly dated, without much of its own style or flair.
Heaven’s Hope is an indie point and click in the vein of LucasArts classics. Its set in a small 19th century English community, and you play as an angel who’s accidentally landed on earth after a failed attempt to impress another angel. The game is insanely slow getting off the ground, and you have to deal with a ton of exposition before you get into the actual game. On top of that, the game bills itself as a comedy, which means you’ll often have to deal with the game’s gags and jokes when you’re really just trying to move the plot along. As far as humor goes, it wasn’t bad per se, but it never really got beyond the level of ‘cute’ for me. It doesn’t help that the voice acting isn’t exactly top-notch (it’s a German production and I’m guessing they weren’t able to secure that many native English speakers), and the writing is okay at best.
The story is actually pretty mature, and somewhat original, in that you play as an angel who’s trying to get back to heaven while dodging religious fanatics who wish to revive the Inquisition in England. This was probably my favorite part of the game, as it gave them a chance to poke fun at religious extremists and leave the player with some meaningful messages about faith and fanaticism. The villain, a zealot named Greta, is also fairly well-crafted as a character, in that she represents all the dangers of excess. I would have liked to learn a bit more background about her, but I think she was portrayed well overall.
Returning to the actual point and click gameplay and puzzles, the game doesn’t really do anything that original. You get some novel gameplay mechanics in the form of angelic power, but for the most part it’s the classic formula of ‘move the mouse around until the cursor lights up and work out the arcane logic for a puzzle’. It wasn’t that tough to get through most of the puzzles, and as usual I found myself stuck on a handful. One nice touch was that the protagonist would give little hints to help work out some of the puzzles that didn’t give too much information, so there was a bit of a compromise.
As far as visuals go, the game has a nice, soft hand-drawn look that it kind of ruins by having the characters animated in very awkward 3D. On the whole, though, the game manages to capture the idyllic countryside and the small town of Heaven’s Hope well, and it takes advantage of the newer resolutions to make a decent-looking game. The sound design also works well, and it helps create the theme pretty effectively.
Heaven’s Hope was reviewed using an Xbox One and PC downloadable code of the game provided by Mosaic Mask Studio. The PC version was tested on a PC running Windows 7 Pro, with a 4GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 970 fitted on a 4th Generation Intel i7 4790 3.6Ghz CPU and topped with 8GB of RAM. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Creative story with some memorable characters
• Simple interface for point-and-click
• Hand-drawn visuals for the backgrounds
• Ability to move quickly around levels
• What we didn’t like
• Point-and-click gameplay feels dated and lacks its own distinguishing features
• Voice acting seemed sub-par at times
• Humor fell flat in most scenes