Space Haven is a complex management-style game set in space. Mine asteroids, make trades, salvage derelict spaceships, fight aliens and pirates, build your spaceship, and make sure your crew has all the supplies and living conditions they need to survive the harshness of space.
Embark on a space voyage with your ragtag crew of civilians in search of a new home. Build spaceships tile by tile, create optimal gas conditions, manage the needs and moods of their crew, encounter other space-faring groups, and explore the universe in this spaceship colony simulation.
I was afraid this game might be too complicated for me, but once I got the hang of it, I realized it’s less overwhelming than it looks, and it’s fun! It does take time to work your way through the tutorial and explore the UI, you have to read the instructions, but you can pause as much as you need to.
The complexity is what makes this so cool. Spaceships are complicated! It takes a lot to keep them running and habitable. You have to salvage derelict ships, mine asteroids, and trade in order to get supplies to build more stuff and keep everything working. You have to make sure the crew has oxygen, clean air, comfortable temperatures, water, food, and medical care. You have to make sure the ship has fuel, ammo, and power. Asteroids can hit your ship, factions can board it, and derelict ships are infested with alien creatures and killer robots, so having weapons, shields, bulletproof vests, and fighter crafts is useful too. There are also dangers that can damage your ship and equipment, killing your crew if everything isn’t repaired quickly enough.
But the crew actually has to do all the building, salvaging, etc. themselves. So you get to determine their schedules and their priorities, direct them through abandoned ships, etc. They get hungry and tired and uncomfortable and injured. And the way they actually have to do everything is fun and immersive. At one point, I was just watching as one person worked the machine that made water, and another walked back and forth to put the water containers away in storage.
They also have little relationships with each other and emotions. It makes you feel more attached to them. Each crew member also has skills, a trait, and a prior job that can affect what they can do, their moods, and how they act. It’s not exactly a life sim (aside from keeping them alive and sorta deciding how to do that), the personalities and relationships are super basic, but it’s cute.
Combat is not always easy to win, but it’s simple to do. In the sense that all you really have to do is tell the people where to move to, and they’ll do the shooting themselves, and you can pause whenever to plan and tell them to move elsewhere. (I say this as someone who generally avoids games with combat. I am bad at it and find it stressful, but not in this game.) Each time I first encountered a new type of enemy, it didn’t go well, but then I started figuring out strategies.
But another great thing about this game is that difficulty is super customizable! You can change the amount of supplies you start with, how much is available for mining/salvaging, whether different factions are hostile or not, whether certain systems/facilities are available to build at the start, and more. There’s even a “peaceful” setting (you might still have to fight aliens or robots if you want to salvage ships, but I think no factions are hostile) and a sandbox mode that lets you spawn in free supplies, if you just wanna build a cool spaceship or explore. Or you can go the other way and make the game super hard.
(I’ve been playing on medium, and it’s pretty difficult. My first crew were all killed or captured when pirates boarded. My second crew has survived over two months, even added two new members, but they lost one to injury, a few have had mental breaks, they’ve all had starvation and vitamin deficiencies, they are always about to run out of the crystal they need to power their ship, and there have been multiple widespread fires, one of which killed all their plants. But I’ve learned from my mistakes! I also took some time to just build a cool ship in sandbox mode.)
It’s one of those games that doesn’t inherently have a story in the gameplay (aside from lore you find in data logs), but each run you do makes its own story as things happen. You can also decide how you want to play. Focus on exploring and becoming self-sufficient. Go around freeing slaves. Make your money by capturing people and then ransoming them back.
It gets a little same-y and grind-y after a while, but it’s also one of those games that’s addictive and makes the hours fly by. There’s always the next thing you need to get or do or build. And it does throw problems at you constantly and force you to make hard decisions sometimes.
I’ve played for 34 hours so far. I’ll likely play some more. Especially since it’s still in early access at the time of my review, and more stuff may get added.
I got this on sale for $9.19 on Steam.
Overall, this is a complex and fun management-style space game!
– Takes some focus to learn, but I got the hang of it within a few hours
– The complexity makes it great
– Basic but cute crew member emotions & relationships
– Simple combat (or settings to avoid combat)
– Very customizable difficulty, including sandbox option
– Basically a management sim
– Overall, a bit grind-y, but fun!
(May not include everything)
– Can change UI size.
– Customizable difficulty.
– Can pause during combat.
The game doesn't even close or have a pop-up when you lose, it just leaves you there staring at your empty broken ship and dead crew members until you decide to exit. It makes you sit with your mistakes and think about what you did ???? #SpaceHaven
— Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight) (@KitTheNameless) July 5, 2023