Heaven Dust Review (Nintendo Switch)

Game: Heaven Dust
Genre: Action, Adventure, Puzzle
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam)
Developer|Publisher: One Gruel Studio | Indienova
Age Rating: EU 16 | US T
Price: US $7.99 | CA $10.00 | AU $ 8.41|UK £5.89 | EU €6.59
Release Date: 27th February 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to Indienova!


Short but sweet, just that introductory screen already screams Resident Evil, and the rest of the game plays up to that. You’re running around a mansion, killing/avoiding zombies and solving puzzles in an attempt to get out. Anyone familiar with this specific genre of horror will be able to immediately recognise the nostalgic premise. I’ve never played a Resident Evil game, being something of a wuss, so I handed my Switch over to my best friend and horror game fan Claire Bear194 (her YouTube channel is here) for her take on this little adventure.

As you traverse the mansion you’ll find notes and diary entries that help flesh out the background, which is always a nice touch, but it didn’t quite go deep enough. Unfortunately, nothing really made me empathise with or connect to the main character which for me is a big thing in any game. It feels like Heaven Dust has tried so hard to emulate Resident Evil that it’s stunted it’s own potential; personally, I think the game would have been much better if it had stepped out of that AAA shadow and made it’s own, unique story.


Good old green herbs, easy to spot but still not common.

Claire Bear194 praised the traditional mechanics, such as scarce ammo and a limited inventory, very highly, and I have to agree. The limited resources added to the game’s horror aspect without making me feel like the situation was completely hopeless, and the simple crafting system was a nice throwback to the 90s horror genre, back when crafting was a supplementary feature and not a main focus. It was also nice to be able to upgrade the gun rather than carrying multiple guns for multiple situations.

We agreed the large area made exploring interesting, and variety of the rooms didn’t make the traversal feel monotonous, but we both ended up doing a lot of backtracking to retrieve objects to use in a different puzzle half-way across the mansion which became annoying quickly. The puzzles were an odd mix of interestingly quirky, making you think outside of the box, and incredibly repetitive in the age-old find code, put into keypad formula.

One point on which we differ is the in-game currency system of tokens, which you use to redeem items from the vending machines scattered around the mansion. Claire found it a little pointless, while I (having a terrible sense of direction and no experience with this type of game) found the maps and attribute boosts you could pick up from them invaluable.

A familiar inventory screen for Resi fans, that works well for this indie.

The inventory system is simple, and once again almost identical to Resident Evil (as is a certain character, but I’m not going to spoil that surprise!). It’s simple and easy to follow and doesn’t really feel out of place for the game. Yes, it’s almost painful just how obviously Resi this game is, but in many of the aspects it works really well, delivering a cuter and less horrifying but still tense survival puzzle game. I would definitely class it more under the puzzle genre than survival horror though, as general play doesn’t feel as intense as you’d normally expect from the genre, but then it means a wimp like me can enjoy it so I’m not complaining!

Graphics and Sound

The graphics in this game are maybe a little clunky, but they’ve managed to strike a nice balance between cute and creepy that I didn’t think was possible. The dim lighting and dull colours really gave the game a good horror vibe, but the fixed camera angle never changes so it’s easy to miss things as you move between rooms.

Heaven Dust doesn’t have much music, just a gentle tune when in a safe room or a creepy hum when out in the mansion, but that only adds to the atmosphere of the game. You can hear, for, example zombies moaning or steam valves whistling before they’re even in sight and the sound placement is superb – you can tell roughly where things are by the way the sounds move.


The difficulty of Heaven Dust really depends on how you play. Claire Bear194 had a much easier time of it than I did, because I tended to panic and shoot every zombie that I came across rather than practising avoidance. I did find myself counting down my shots as I played, and needing health boosts every now and then when I messed up timings or a zombie was camped directly behind a door. It still isn’t an incredibly hard game though, as the enemies vary little and behave rather predictably.

Auto-aiming is a godsend for someone with my “skills”!

You have standard zombies, ones that are a little faster, and ones that are a little stronger. As soon as you’re close enough they make a beeline for you, but they aren’t too hard to take down as long as you have ammo – the targeting system is automatic, so you only need to hold R and press Y to shoot until whatever is ambling towards you dies and collapses in a pool of blood.


Considering I normally hate horror games of any kind I really enjoyed Heaven Dust. Despite it’s predictability and being very firmly in Resident Evil’s shadow it was a fun game that I’d definitely recommend for the price, especially if you’re craving 90s horror survival or can’t stomach the AAA’s terrifying nature (like me!). It is a little slow and clunky, but that doesn’t feel like a serious hindrance in this pleasantly creepy indie.

All in all: A cute Resident Evil inspired indie that, while fun, could be something really special if it stepped out of the AAA franchise’s shadow.

Final Verdict: I Liked ItI like it


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