A real Fallen Angel, this guy
Regardless of personal religious standpoint, it’s probably safe to say that many of us have wondered what Heaven is like. While almost everyone who has given it a thought surely has their own unique version of what it must be like, it is probably also safe to say that, generally, Heaven is imagined by those on Earth to be a much different place than the realm in which we currently reside. Have you ever given a thought, however, to the opposite? What might Angels think of Earth and the strange creatures that inhabit it? Sure they’ve heard of humans, and they’ve heard of Earth, but when you’re an Angel, you’ve got better things to do with yourself than sit around wondering what the mortal realm is like. Would that then mean that, just like we humans would not know what to do with ourselves in Heaven, Angels might have a bit of a rough time getting around Earth? Especially if, say, that Angel were to maybe lose both their halo and wings thus stripping them of almost every heavenly power bestowed upon them by God? Well, luckily for you, Heaven’s Hope takes a look at just that.
Heaven’s Hope is a Point and Click Adventure that puts players in charge of the literal Fallen Angel, Talorel. Thanks to a mishap involving flying to close to the barrier of Heaven, Talorel has been sent plummeting toward Earth, both losing his halo, and burning his wings to a crisp in the atmosphere in the process. As you may guess, stuff like this is a big no-no for Angels so Talorel needs to get himself together and head back toward Heaven immediately. While you might think that a task such as that would pose little to no problem for an Angel, even one without a halo and wings, but it appears that Angels know almost as little about us as we do about them. To make things worse, Talorel has also landed not to far away from Heaven’s Hope; a town that has recently undergone a second Inquisition. Things certainly seem to be Hell on Earth in Heaven’s Hope, and it so happens that an Angel’s touch is exactly what they will be needing.
As previously mentioned, Heaven’s Hope is a Point and Click Adventure, and controls as such. Rather than actively moving Talorel around, players click on objects, scenery, and people in order to act with them. Although nearly every intractable object or person can be viewed, other interactions may become available (such as speaking, picking up, or even making faces at), so experimentation is key.
Though initial in area progression is quite linear, the game cuts players loose, so-to-speak, once they reach the actual town of Heaven’s Hope. While knowing what you are supposed to be doing is never the problem, it is easy to become lost in terms of how you are supposed to be doing it. Exploring the town is quite enjoyable, and both the characters and locations are all unique and memorable. Unfortunately, the “free-roaming” of sorts can come back to haunt you if you’re not well-polished on games of this genre. I personally found myself walking around town and talking to everyone without a clue as to how I was supposed to accomplish my goal quite frequently. The game does have a help system, cleverly poised as asking for “help from above” from your two Angel friends, but it really never amounts to much more than them stating the obvious. On the plus side of things, Talorel is given both a map and a notebook pretty early on in the game. The notebook allows you to keep track of your current objectives within the game, and can sometimes provide hints on how to complete them. The map, gloriously, allows you to fast-travel to every location that isn’t inside of a building. Mundane as they may both seem, they make the gameplay run a lot more smoothly; especially the map.
While the progression of the game was a bit frustrating here and there, the atmosphere of the game itself was what kept me persevering through any of the hard times. The world of Heaven’s Hope -both the environments themselves and, most notably, those who reside within them- have very clearly had a lot of effort put into them. Character interactions are always quite enjoyable, and I always found myself exhausting every dialogue option regardless of whether I needed to or not just to squeeze as much life from the characters as possible. I’m quite a stickler for good voice acting, and Heaven’s Hope delivered on that quite well for the most part. The cast contained quite a few different dialects and ethnicities, and successfully managed to fit everything and everyone in naturally. In fact, it was only Talorel that I had an issue with.The way in which Talorel emphasizes certain words within his speech sounds a bit foreign. Though one of the few characters lacking a specific dialect, the way in which he spoke seemed to vaguely hint at some sort of European background that did not have English as its native tongue. I normally wouldn’t have given this any thought but, seeing as how he is both the main character and appears to be going for accent neutrality, I found this a bit odd. It was still a very good performance overall, though. Unfortunately, not every character had an exceptional amount of dialogue, but even those who didn’t say much still managed to say things with their own personal flair and verve.
The character models themselves were also crafted with care and claimed quite a bit of personal detail, but at times did fall to animations that seemed a bit clunky and limited in terms of frames. When moving in a specific direction, the models moved with believable fluidity. When changing directions however, many characters seemed to lack distinct “turning” frames of animation, which resulted in them sort of looking like they had to teleport in order to face the other direction. This was not the case with every model, not by a long shot, but the few who did seem to have this problem made it quite obvious.
There isn’t anything to say about the environments… other than the fact that they were incredibly well-done. In today’s age of video game development when it’s easier to pre-render backgrounds without so much as a second thought, seeing environments that have been painstakingly detailed is very refreshing.
All-in-all, Heaven’s Hope is a solid Point-and-Click Adventure for the PC. While this kind of game certainly has a unique flavor that generally only attracts fans of this genre, it is certainly one worth checking out if you are into into it. Not only does it boast a good story with nicely customized audio and visuals, but it manages to do something that a lot of video games either do not do or seem incapable of doing; shedding light on an aspect of a religion while keeping it devoid of any sort of influence. Though this game is about an Angel from Heaven, not once did I feel as though Heaven’s Hope was telling me that religion, any religion, was either good or bad. It was what it was, and everything felt completely comfortable; that in itself is reason enough to play it.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PC (reviewed) ; Publisher: EuroVideo Medien GmbH ; Developer: Mosaic Mask Studios ; Players: 1; Released: February 25, 2016; Genre: Adventure; MSRP: $19.99
Full disclosure: This review was written based on review code supplied by the game’s publisher.