Have you ever wanted to be an archaeologist? How about travel around a nebula? Well, now’s your chance. Thanks to Inkle Studios, we can take the role of Aliya Elasra, searching for a robiticist named Janniqi Renba. Along with your robot companion, Six, your task is to discover Renba’s whereabouts and why he disappeared. All the while, you’re sailing (yes, sailing) across the nebula’s rivers to different moons and archaeological locations.
Your ship is a wonderfully decorated sailing vessel made of wood. Fun to steer and rather cozy within.
You’ll collect a wide range of artifacts all in your pursuit. However, you’ll need to put your archaeological skills to good use as you attempt to decipher a long forgotten language.
The language itself can be a bit daunting at first. However, clues begin to take shape as more of the etchings become similar. This leads to you being able to correct of confirm your findings. Also the word groupings start to form with the shape of the words or lettings. While this is a key part of the mystery to the game, the time deciphering the words gives a nice break within the games itself.
Traveling to new moons, gathering clues, and learning about the ancient civilization that used to live in the nebula is just part of the fun. There is a whole lore behind the game that becomes more apparent as you play through.
The fundamental belief is that we are all within a loop and that our actions and lives are just part of a loop. Some don’t believe that, however. Yet, the motion within the controls can lead you to believe that maybe Aliya is indeed part of said loop. As she walks, some part of her lingers for a second. Could this be part of that loop? Was she already there? Will she be there again?
Robots play an essential role in this story, however, it seems Six is the only one that is complete or at least he is unique. He can be helpful and their dialog is comical at times. His role seems to be more in line with keeping the protagonist moving forward. However, Six is going through something of a memory wipe and that feels like it will play into the story. Early on a message comes that the robots know something. That feels ominous, and yet others give that same vibe.
While not large, there is a cast of characters that you encounter. Some seems to be allies while others might want to look like allies but they don’t give off that vibe.
While this is a fun and adventurous game worthy of praise, I do have to say that I found the controllers to be a bit hard to get used to. The camera movement could get away from you, and feel hard to control. However, that is just one con in a game full of pros. The soundtrack is flawless. The music immerses you in a different universe, while providing the appropriate background for your adventure. The voice acting, though only in short narrations every now and then, is done magnificently. The replay value of Heaven’s Vault is 100% there and replayable. The open world (nebula) feel is truly yours to explore. The options are rather limitless.
For historians, cartographers, and anthropologists (I’m 2 out of 3), this is the game for you. Dig into the past while uncovering the future. Discover the loop and unlock secrets long forgotten.
A definite 5 out of 5!
All images belong to Inkle Studios