LadiesGamers Batora

Batora: Lost Haven Review

Game: Batora: Lost Haven
Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
System: Steam (Windows & Linux) (Also on Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PS4)
Developer|Publisher: Stromind Games | Team 17
Controller Support: Yes
Price: UK £19.99 | US $24.99 | € 24,99
Release Date: October 20th, 2022

Review code provided with many thanks to Press Engine.

Weekend Sorted 

Batora: Lost Haven is an isometric action-adventure game focusing on its split combat and morale choice narrative. It’s already been available on other platforms, but since this title is coming to Nintendo Switch, now seemed to be a good time to give it some renewed exposure. By that, I mean I’ll be reviewing the PC port just to be different.

Batora makes a great first impression with its cinematic presentation, but its gameplay feels a little lacking in places. But if you’re looking for a new adventure (around 10 hours), this is not a bad game to spend the weekend with.

LadiesGamers Batora
Fight with physical or mental powers

Morale Choice

It’s the apocalypse (again), but it’s not the Zombies that caused it but some unknown alien entity. You play a plucky teenager, Avril, who is exploring the ruined city of London with her pal Mila, seeking out a special artefact. Despite the city wastelands, she finds what she’s looking for pretty quickly, then gets transported to a new planet with a new wardrobe change and mission. Guided by the gods of the sun and the moon, she now must save the planet and, indeed, Earth. 

The narrative plays an important part in gameplay. Every so often, you are presented with moral dilemmas, all of which have consequences for how you’re perceived by NPCs. The game tells you there are no good or bad decisions, but it still often feels like good or bad. The game plays these decisions off as conqueror (the harsher choice) or defender (usually, the kinder choice). I tend to go for the good, kind approach, but I actually decided to side more with the conqueror in this game, which meant a lot of the locals weren’t too happy with me. The main reason for this is Avril kinda comes across as a bit of an angsty teenager. Always attempting some bad joke even if the circumstances didn’t call for it. So I just leaned into this and did what I thought any young person would do and made the wrong choice. I did admire how these choices appear to take quite a mental toll on Avril. I ended up enjoying the plot a lot more playing this way. That might not be the case for all players; some may find the humour a bit overdone and the characters unlikeable. 

LadiesGamers Batora
To be young again

Two-Toned Combat

Gameplay mostly focuses on hack-and-slash combat. Avril has two forms: an orange physical form and a mental purple form. The former equips you with a large sword for up-close melee combat. The mental form equips you with a projectile weapon which turns the gameplay into more of a twin-stick shooter. You can instantly switch between the forms at the press of a button. When enemies spawn, they will have an orange or purple glow depending on indicating the form they are most weak to. You can attack an opposing colour enemy on the game’s base setting, but the health bar will deplete much slower. The harder setting removes any damage if you attack with the wrong colour, whilst the easier settings make any attacks cause damage. So you have some wiggle to make the game as brutal or casual as you want.

The key to success is switching often whilst adding in some dodging. As you progress, you will unlock additional moves adding more flexibility to the combat. Generally, I found the combat a bit of a messy affair. Worked mostly in principle, but when it came to directing attacks at enemies, Avril often missed the mark. The projectiles in mental form often shot slightly off from the enemy despite attempting to do my best correction with the analogue stick. Another frustration was that allied NPCs helping in combat have a nasty habit of just running into enemy attacks. If they perish, you have to restart from the nearest checkpoint again. The game also lacks co-op, which is a bit of a bummer.

Avril will level up naturally over the course of the game, though to upgrade, you will need to equip various runes. These will buff and debuff your physical and mental powers. Many are obtained by purchasing them from vendors, but some can only be gained through specific moral choices made during the course of the game. It’s decent enough to experiment with but feels slightly shallow compared to having extra weapons or special armour pieces.

LadiesGamers Batora
Take a moment to solve some puzzles


I really liked the game’s presentation. The cartoon animated style was a good fit for the mixed tone of humour and serious moments. Considering a smaller indie developer makes this, it feels almost on par with some of the computer-animated films out there. It probably helps that I played it on a PC, where everything ran smoothly. To add further to the immersion, the game has an epic soundtrack adding to the tension of the combat gameplay and turning to something more relaxing during exploration. The voice acting is pretty solid. Sure, some of the dialogue is eye-rolling and cringe, but the voice actors really bring their best to the performance.

Level design is fairly straightforward. You can explore off the beaten path to find chests and other secrets, but it’s never too deep. If you somehow do get lost or you’re just lazy, you can press a button and some glowy flies appear to show you the way. Other than combat, the game will throw in the odd puzzle; sometimes, you’re activating switches to rotate platforms to reveal a path ahead. Or moving stupidly heavy boulders onto switches. I wasn’t so fond of these moments; it genuinely felt like I might break my analogue stick trying to get the dang thing up a hill. Top marks for the immersive feeling from the developers but not one I’m sure I wanted. 

LadiesGamers Batora
I get the point, Mr boss.

Conclusion: Split Down the Middle 

Batora: Lost Haven is okay. It presents a great cinematic presentation, but the gameplay doesn’t always hit the mark. This feels like quite a divisive game. Some players will really enjoy the simple action formula and moral choice system and have a pretty fun gaming weekend with this. Others, I can imagine, will see this as underdeveloped, the humour graining and just not as good as other action games in the genre. A demo would have really helped make this decision. I personally recommend it.

There is much to criticize, but I sensed a lot of effort from the developers to put this project together, which still held my attention. It probably helps that I also really like isometric dungeon crawlers. If the developers ever follow up with this formula, I would still be interested in what they come up with.

Final Verdict: I Like it

I like it


We love to hear from you!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.