Parents' Guide to

Heaven's Vault

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Non-violent sci-fi puzzle adventure with strong female lead.

Game PlayStation 4 , Windows 2019
Heaven's Vault Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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Is It Any Good?

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An open world adventure focused on storytelling and puzzles and free of fighting makes for a refreshing change, but it may not be for everyone. Heaven's Vault's greatest strength is also bound to be what turns off some players: Its translation puzzles. Inkle has done an admirable job making a game out of the process of examining rune shapes and using what you've previously learned to make educated guesses as to their meanings. It really does feel like you're playing the role of a historian doing a historian's work. The downside is that there are times when this work, well, feels like work. Players stab around in the dark -- much as a real translator of hieroglyphs probably does -- until something finally clicks with Aliya and she becomes certain of a word's meaning. Some players will relish the authenticity of these puzzles and may even feel like they're really learning a new language, while others are bound to quit playing in frustration.

Assuming you're among the former group and you keep at it, there's plenty of other stuff to enjoy -- especially if you like discovering new worlds. Aliya is a compelling character, and getting to know her quirks -- such her frequent annoyance with Six -- is a pleasure. Plus, the millennia-spanning timeline that slowly develops as the game progresses tells a separate but equally fascinating story of a mysterious and powerful empire, and how the subject of our search is connected with it. Time spent sailing the waterways between moons can get a little tedious, mostly due to awkward controls, but thankfully far more time is devoted to exploring each location, finding artifacts, and getting to know the locals. If you take to the challenging translation puzzles, Heaven's Vault should prove a smart and charming alternative to action-oriented open world games.

Game Details

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