Heaven’s Hope is the debut game from German studio Mosaic Mask. It’s a point-and-click adventure, not too dissimilar to the titles that we saw from companies like Sierra and LucasArts in the ‘90s. It’s a genre that has seen a great resurgence in the last few years, especially from companies like Telltale. Unfortunately, like in the ‘90s, there are a lot of poor games out there which need to be sifted through before the real diamonds are found. Is Heaven’s Hope the Holy Grail of gaming then, or a wicked abomination?
It all starts out pretty well. There’s an amusing little intro sequence as we see how the main character Talorel managed to fall to earth, followed by the first glimpse of some beautifully-crafted, hand-drawn artwork. What follows is a tale of intrigue as Talorel has to contend with a shady puritan-esque cult in order to regain his wings and return to Heaven before St Peter notices. It’s a fairly far-fetched story: the sort that you expect in this kind of game. The setup is almost Pratchett-like in nature, with Talorel having a charming quality about him, even if he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. He reminds me a lot of Mort, although with less death involved.
You get the impression from the off that Mosaic Mask definitely take a lot of inspirations from popular culture. Throughout the game, you’ll see a number of references to Monty Python, Tolkien and Douglas Adams. It’s amusing the first time you see it, but it does wear a little thin. When the writers do create their own humour, it seems to work very well so I wish they’d done that a bit more instead of making unnecessarily drawn out Spanish Inquisition references.
Perhaps then, it’s this borrowing of ideas that stops Heaven’s Hope from being an exceptional game. There’s always the feeling that you’ve seen it all before. There’s nothing that stands out as being head and shoulders above anything that we’ve seen from other games in the genre. There are no brilliantly unique puzzles that make you think “oh, that’s clever” or plot twists that leave you wondering why you never saw it coming. That’s not to say that it’s a bad game, far from it, but there’s nothing that elevates it above being “quite good”. It might take inspiration from the like of LucasArts, but it’s not up there with them just yet.
One of the things that can plague games of this type is illogical puzzles. Even some of the best of the genre have their fair share of puzzles that just don’t seem grounded in reality and Heaven’s Hope is no exception. There were a few puzzles along the way where I just had to mash every object against everything in sight until I stumbled on the right answer. Even after I’d done so, it wasn’t always clear why that worked exactly. Fortunately, these head scratchers are few and far between so they can be overlooked when the majority of the game’s puzzles are pretty sensible.
The only real downside is that the game is relatively short, you should be able to complete it in about 12 hours or so on your first run. Considering the budget price though, you’ll likely feel that you got your money’s worth. It’s just a shame there wasn’t more to it as I really enjoyed it and would have liked to see more. It’s worth remembering though that this was a small title, produced by a team of eight on a low budget. For a debut, I felt that Mosaic Mask did pretty well.
Overall, it’s a good start to the career of a company that seem to be a promising up-and-coming new developer. It might not be the finest adventure ever, but for a first game, it does a really good job. I enjoyed it a fair bit, enough so that I played to completion rather than just long enough to be able to review it. If you want a game that’s reminiscent of the point-and-clicks of old, with a quaint feel to it and a decent, if somewhat derivative, sense of humour, then this isn’t a bad one to pick up.
Heaven's Hope - Special Edition (Reviewed on Windows)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
Not the best adventure game I’ve ever played, but it’s certainly fun, well drawn and with a decent enough storyline. Fans of the genre will likely enjoy this but it probably won’t convert any new fans.