Developer / Publisher – Fabio Ferrara / Chubby Pixel
Price – US $0.99 / EU €0.99 / UK £0.79
Release Date – March 13th, 2017
Input – Mouse/Keyboard
Play Area – Seated
Store – Steam
Reviewed on – Oculus Rift
Heaven Forest NIGHTS would fall into the category many people are calling “Walking Simulators”. VR seems particularly well designed for walking simulators and I have enjoyed some in the past, so jumping into a game like this on VR should improve the experience considerably. Unfortunately, Heaven Forest NIGHTS suffers from a few too many flaws to make this a must buy experience.
Heaven is set in an interesting landscape with a lot of animals and structures to behold. The premise of the game is to walk a path and read short passages in books or on scrolls that offer, what attempts to be, deep thoughts on life and death. These thoughts and reflections fall short of being thought provoking and come off a little pretentious and uninteresting,in my opinion. The path can be walked in well under and hour with little replay value aside from a few objects placed around that can be collected with no motivation as to why you should collect them other than steam achievements.
The gameplay itself struggles with inconsistent walk speed and poor collision tracking. I would often find myself getting stuck with no explanation as to why I could not move forward and only by jumping or going around a non-existent barrier could I progress. The play area is confined by invisible walls as well. There is no hand presence which would have at least made the item collection more interesting than looking at an object and pressing a button on a keyboard.
The visuals are the strongest point of the experience. With interesting foliage and animals all over you will generally have something intriguing to look at. Thought the variety of animals and foliage is lacking. The game also features interesting structures which are sadly non-interactive. The sky box might be the most interesting thing to look at. The moon and visible galaxies are well done and pretty. Despite visuals being the strongest point of the game, it is not without flaws. The textures are low resolution and the game suffers from frequent pop in for items and trees.
What would I pay? The $0.99 asking price is very reasonable for what the game is. I would still not say it is worth $0.99 for everyone though. If you think a mildly interactive walk through an interesting but low-resolution landscape is worth $1 then you won’t feel ripped off. I don’t think most people who aren’t very interested in a game like this would benefit from playing it at any price.