Batora: Lost Haven Review: Like Night and Day (PC)

Batora: Lost Haven is the newest game by Stormind Games and published Team17. In this isometric action RPG you play as Avril, the new Keeper of Balance with the powers of the Sun and Moon at her side on a quest to save Earth. Batora brings a lot to the table but how much of it is a success? It is a mixed bag that leaves Batora feeling a little lost.

Batora: Lost Haven Review: Like Night and Day (PC)

Batora: Lost Haven is an odd title. It’s an isometric action RPG published by Team17 where you play as the Keeper of Balance controlling the powers of the Sun and Moon. By visiting various planets and aiding (or defeating) their denizens, you aim to save Earth from annihilation. 

The developer, Stormind Games, was previously known for their Remothered series of horror titles, so leaping to an intergalactic fantasy RPG is quite a leap. A leap that I’m not certain they pulled off.

There are cracks in a lot of what Batora tries to achieve and it puts the whole package on a knife’s edge. The story isn’t sure whether it wants to be a comical superhero romp or a serious look at the weight of expectation. Meanwhile, the combat has a lot going for it that will be obscured by other damning aspects of the game. The worlds may be beautiful and expertly crafted but they’re pretty barren and despite the cinematic flair, a lot of the game feels flat.

Don’t be mistaken: there is a lot to like in Batora: Lost Haven and I ultimately enjoyed my time with the game far more than I disliked it. There are pieces here that I know other people will love. I’m just not that person and so the faults and flaws stand out more as a result.

Batora: Lost Haven shoots for the stars but it seems to get lost in the dark along the way. 

Batora: Lost Haven is available on Steam, PS4/5, Xbox One and Series X/S and Nintendo Switch.

Batora Lost Haven - Official Gameplay Trailer

Story: Obscured by Nightfall

The story of Batora: Lost Havens places you in the shoes of Avril, a young girl who lives in the ruins of London. After some brief preamble about the end of the world and some strange dreams, you watch Avril quite literally stumble her way into the path of a hero. As the new Keeper of Balance, she is tasked by two Gods known as Sun and Moon to help fix Earth. To do so, Avril (aided by her friend Mila) must travel to several different elemental planets and fix their Cores, in turn saving her planet from destruction. 

Unfortunately, I did not walk away from my time with Batora: Lost Haven enjoying the story. It couldn’t find the right tone and the pacing was too fast. By the end, I didn’t care about any of my decisions or any of the characters. 

Firstly, the game begins with a tone that I can only describe as comparable to the recently lambasted Forspoken by Square Enix. Every other line was a snappy quip or a jest and it unintentionally downplayed a lot of the story’s stakes. When something serious did end up happening, I couldn’t get invested because I had just spent my time listening to Avril big herself up as a ‘Hero’ or demigod. 

Get Ready

Get Ready

So when the game does a complete 180 in the second half and becomes a nihilistic piece on consequences, I nearly broke my neck with the tonal whiplash. It’s not even that the themes that Batora tries to tackle are bad – in fact, a lot of the later commentary on the consequences of your actions and the toll expectation takes are pretty good – it just never recovers from the complete inversion of its tone. The overly jovial first half taints the potential of the later half and made it so that I just couldn’t get invested, even when the ideas being presented sound interesting. 

Another big issue is the pacing. Alongside the tonal problems, the game is just on full sprint the entire time. Batora throws names and places and people at you constantly before moving on, forcibly dragging you through this adventure while you’re still trying to figure out things from 2 planets ago. Because of this, you don’t get connected to the allies Avril meets and the villains are painful caricatures of evilness. With Batora only coming in at around 8 hours to finish your first playthrough, it certainly could have used some more levity and time to just… digest or learn. 

Pair both of these things together and you get the story of Batora: Lost Haven. It swings for the fences and tries to reach for some grand ideas but it ultimately falls very short.




Another part about Batora: Lost Haven is that it’s a story with choices. Decisions that will alter the story. 

The core paths that Avril can take are either Conqueror (denoted by feelings of rashness and instinct) or Defender (denoted by feelings of compassion and preservation). While not a clear-cut ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ path, it often feels like there is a ‘right’ choice for every decision. Additionally, the choices offered often boil down to ‘do you want to fight or do a puzzle’ instead of anything transformative. 

The main benefit of going Defender or Conqueror is that you will have more slots for the associated type of Rune. These are items that grant Avril bonuses and benefits to her stats. Conqueror Runes tend to be more offensive whereas Defender Runes are more defensive. 

Overall, the choices provided in Batora are pretty so-so. Due to the wishy-washy nature of the story and the lack of investment in any of the characters, I simply didn’t care and the game gave me very little reason to. This was cemented when I did take an interest in one of the choices. Despite some minor flavourful changes, the outcome was nearly exactly the same. It also didn’t appear to have any long-lasting consequences, either.

The choices feel like a way to give the game more replayability… replayability that I don’t think the game has. My playthrough clocked in at around 8 hours. I feel a strong desire to play through again to see the other choices. Aside from the very final one of the game, these choices feel rather superficial.



World: A Ray of Hope

Fortunately, I have much brighter things to say about the world. Outside of some of the combat decisions and ideas, I believe that the strongest parts of Batora: Lost Haven are to do with the world. 

Batora is also a very cinematic game. There is a very high bar of quality that separates Batora apart from other indie titles. It is punching above its weight in terms of presentation and in most areas it wholeheartedly succeeds.

The worlds themselves are similarly imbued with this energy and passion. Even if the story is quite obscure and moves too quickly for the player to place down roots, each of the planets that Avril visits feel like a real place. The developers have thought out how these places work – how they live and how they work, how they worship and how they survive – even if the player never gets to learn about them.

Sandy Shores

Sandy Shores

One example is Huav, the Planet of Wind. You go from a storm-swept desert where scrap falls from the sky to the snow-kissed peaks and roaming jade forests of the realms of the dead before culminating in a beautiful East Asian-inspired cityscape. No matter where you went or what kind of creatures you saw, they had a place and a purpose there. That can only come from a lot of talent and passion from the world makers of Batora: people who knew everything they needed to make a brilliant set of worlds.

It means that the planets you explore have a fullness to them that other parts of the game lack. A wholeness. Every time I finished a planet, I was excited to see what was next. What beautiful landscape would I lay my eyes upon next?

Which is, sadly, what most of the planets end up being. Pretty pictures and not much else.


While each environment looks distinct and beautiful and a place you will want to explore, that desire soon wains. 

Aside from visuals, there are no distinct factors to any of the planets you will explore. If you stripped the visuals back from each, I honestly could not tell you which was which. Nothing sets them apart feel-wise: the enemies you fight may be different and the NPCs you talk to may look different, but at the end of the day everything feels the same.

Collect three of these things, go to that area, and kill those enemies. Those kinds of complaints and simplifications can be made about a variety of games but Batora: Lost Haven suffers from it far more. The contrast between the encapturing world you find yourself in and the dull tasks you repeat is too much. You fight through a series of the same linear corridors and rooms masquerading as different locations. For a while, the tricks work but after you figure it out, the wanderlust dissipates.

There are some bright sparks here, and the combat side of the game helps alleviate some of that disappointment. However, it is just a shame that the grandeur of the world is just skin-deep.

Puzzles, Puzzles

Puzzles, Puzzles

Gameplay: Bright as the Sun

Aside from wandering around the planets, you’ll be fighting enemies for most of your time in Batora. As Avril, you have access to a good selection of moves and abilities that have you contend with various enemies and bosses.

There are 3 core parts to the combat system. Avril and her own set of moves and skills, the dual Nature system and the enemies that you fight. Altogether, they clash and combine in different ways to make the combat portion of Batora: Lost Haven mostly a success.

Batros: Lost Haven also has puzzles reminiscent of Shrines in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. However, they aren’t at all difficult and serve more as breaks in combat – which they serve their job well. The combat side of the game is where the majority of the focus will be.

I would also like to mention that I played the entirety of Batora: Lost Haven on a controller as opposed to a keyboard and mouse. While you can play on either input, I would recommend a controller. As always, your mileage may vary. 

Ball Puzzles

Ball Puzzles


Avril’s move set is pretty basic, but that isn’t bad. Without any complicated combo strings or long windup moves, Batora: Lost Haven can place a focus on mobility and movement alongside its action. 

In each of her two forms, Avril has a different basic combo as well as access to 4 skills in each Nature that will unlock as the game progresses. She has two kinds of evades (a roll and a teleport) and each provides immunity to damage. She also has an on-demand heal and damage buff that only regenerates through damaging enemies. 

While this is all pretty basic, it does allow for combat to be a bit more dynamic. Avril is capable of a lot of mobility and you will quickly learn to skate around the battle. Your foes are relentless and they don’t stagger often. It doesn’t feel as unfair as it perhaps should because of the lack of commitment that each attack takes – you can fire and forget and if a skill misses, it’ll be back in a few moments.

The stakes may not be particularly high on the combat end but the game throws enough at you and gives you enough tools that playing as Avril always felt fun… in most ways.

What the game felt like it was lacking was a lock-on. Due to the high amounts of mobility and movement that the game demands of you, you’ll often be missing hits and attacks on enemies that you rightly have damaged. Without any kind of lock-on system, you may just miss a target with your ranged attack and just coast past an enemy with your charge. As previously stated, there isn’t a lot of commitment and your abilities come back quick enough. However, just missing happens enough that you begin to notice it and it will begin to negatively impact your experience, if only slightly. 

Mental Prowess

Mental Prowess


Perhaps the standout feature of Batora: Lost Haven is the Nature system. 

When Avril takes on the powers of the Sun and Moon, she gets access to the Nature System. Avril switches between Physical Nature and Mental Nature at the push of a button. The former is focused on close-ranged combat, while the latter specialises in long-ranged. Another interesting addition is that each Nature has its own dedicated health bar – if either fall to zero, you die.

Aside from giving her two different move sets and a suite of new abilities, the Nature system incentives you to mix up your playstyle in a lot of subtle ways.

For example, you get access to an ability where you apply a buff to yourself. This buff will heal a set amount of damage to the form it is activated upon as well as buff that Nature’s damage. The tricky part is that you can only build that buff back up by using the opposing nature. It nudges you into playing with both Natures and teaches you not to neglect one. When I started the game, I suspected that Mental Nature would be far stronger due to its long-range capabilities. This system, alongside other benefits, pushed that thought from my mind very quickly.

Alongside the Nature system is the Rune system. Runes grant additional buffs and bonuses. These stats are usually geared towards one Nature, such as providing 50 ATK to Mental but lowering Physical DEF by 5%. The buffs and bonuses are pretty minimal for most Runes. Also, unless you actively seek out merchants to buy new Runes, you won’t have a lot to play with. They’re useful, certainly, but not game-changing. 

On the whole, the Nature system is the biggest draw that the game has. There’s so much satisfaction in perfectly switching between Physical and Mental to wipe out a big group of enemies. When combat was like that, Batora: Lost Haven was very, very good.

Stats Menu

Stats Menu


Another good thing that Batora: Lost Haven has going for it is the enemies. Not only is there a good variety of foes for you to bash about, but they’re also distinctly memorable.

Each new planet has its suite of enemies to fight, making each new area engaging. You learn what the enemy can do, and how to beat it and when you start getting a bit bored with this enemy type, you moved along. Alongside Avril’s Nature switching and how relentless the enemies can be, combat in Batora: Lost Haven is really fun and a highlight of the game (even if it takes a bit of getting used to).

Enemies also have Natures, denoted by the orange or purple ring at their feet. If you hit an enemy with their matching Nature, it will deal bonus damage. Usually, the game will throw a mix of targets at you – Mental and Physical at the same time – which just promotes switching and changing forms on the fly. Hybrid enemies are dual Natured and Avril needs to use both elements to take them down. Altogether, the enemy experience perfectly complements the strengths of Avril’s kit and balances everything out just right. 

Big Bad Boss

Big Bad Boss

I have only two main complaints when it comes to enemies. The first is that there aren’t any stage hazards to accompany the enemies you fight. Meanwhile the second is that the telegraphs for some attacks are misleading.

Stage hazards only make an appearance twice near the start and they strangely never make a return. It’s an odd omission because throwing in some spike traps on the floor or flaming jets on the wall would help spice up combat even more – the enemy variety is good in Batora but every little bit helps. It’s disappointing, especially because there are stage hazards already in the game. It would also make the different environments more memorable. As it stands right now, fighting enemies feels very good, but where you fight them always feels the same.

On the other hand, some enemies have misleading telegraphs. Every enemy in the game will flash white when they are about to attack. This is prompting you to get ready for a dodge. If successful, you’ll take no damage and negate the hit. For 9/10 enemies, you dodge on the flash… except for 1/10 time.

The main example here is a Frog-like enemy who flashes before leaping at you. The damage comes a few seconds after the flash and if you dodge as you do with every other enemy, you’ll take damage. Each enemy does have a unique set of animations tied to each move but the game teaches you to rely on that flash. When one enemy betrays that intention, it makes you question and loses faith in every other encounter. It doesn’t happen often but there are enough instances of this where it got a bit grating.

Fight Night

Fight Night

Bugs and Glitches: Blinding Light

Finally, let’s talk about the technical state of the game. I played Batora: Lost Haven on PC and my experience was smooth… for the most part. Aside from one reoccurring instance, I didn’t have any crashes. Although there were a few grievances with bugs and technical performance.

Most of the time, even in the thick of combat, the game maintained a consistent and steady framerate. A few late-game areas with more particle and environmental effects did cause Batora to run at a lower frame rate if I stood or engaged enemies close by – however, it wasn’t anything serious and could be easily avoided.

Something else that I wasn’t sure was a bug was the audio in cutscenes. The characters always sounded far too loud and there were very few sound effects and a strange lack of music. It was a strange enough occurrence to call out, especially when it ruined otherwise good-looking moments and cutscenes.

Sky High

Sky High

The game was also relatively bug-free. Aside from strange collision boxes in the environment, it was relatively smooth. I did have several instances of bugs that caused me to instantly die or be unable to progress, however. The first was when I accidentally rolled off a platform taking me to my next destination. It never respawned the platform so I had to die and restart the area to continue. Another standout moment was when I spawned into a new area and instantly fell through the floor, killing me instantly.

The worst bug I encountered was one that I could replicate and would hard crash my game. After making an impactful decision at the end of the Huav level, I died. When I respawned I couldn’t get past the checkpoint without the game crashing – this happened three times without fail. I reloaded the save and completed the area without dying and the crashes didn’t happen. As a result, I’m not completely certain this is the only instance of this bug happening. This was the only time I died after a ‘Turning Point’ so I’m not sure.

I suspect that this, alongside some of the other bugs and issues, will be fixed in a patch later to come. However, be wary of picking this game up on day one if you want a completely bug-free experience. There are still some kinks that need ironing out and issues to be resolved. 

Batora: Lost Haven's biggest strength is that it is full of passion. Some of it's ideas, particularly with the story, fizzle out and are lost in the dark. Others, like the inventive combat and fleshed out worlds, are a joy to see and are beacons of light. It isn't for everyone but if it's for you and you meet the game with the right expectations, there is no doubt that you will have a good time.
  • The stylised visuals are beautiful and give Batora a wonderful amount of cinematic flair and life
  • The worlds you explore all distinct and feel like fully fleshed out locations
  • Combat is engaging and fun, especially with the Nature switching mechanics
  • The story tries for big ideas but falls flat
  • Exploration and levels are quite dull and leave much to be desired
  • Choices feel superfluous and not very impactful

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