Romance & Zombies
An unknown virus spread across the world and infected numerous people, turning them into zombies. Years after, you are searching for answers and harboring a secret; you’re infected…but not a zombie. How’s that for a plot twist? From StoryTaco.inc, Havenless is filled with both danger and romance, and every choice affects the world around you. Dive into a grim story that hooks you from the very beginning. If you survive, who will you give your heart to?
There are many layers of storytelling in Havenless. Everyone has their own personal goals. For example, your character, a red-haired twenty-three-year-old woman that you get to name, is searching for her missing sister. She can’t do it alone, and that’s why she travels with a group. This is where the romance comes in. Will she choose childhood friend Shane, eccentric Lance, strong-willed Samantha, or mysterious Noah? Lily, another person in her party, isn’t romanceable because she’s a bit younger. I found these romance options interesting for a few reasons. First, Shane has a crush on your character and isn’t very subtle about it, though she has no idea. The way his words and actions are written almost makes you feel his suppressed feelings for the main character. Plus, he was with her when she got infected and now guards her secret.
Second, it’s very rare for any romance game to have a female option. Samantha, thankfully, is as well-designed and well-written as the men when she could’ve been made a stereotype. The inclusion of a female romance option is a step forward for Bisexual gamers everywhere. Hopefully more companies will follow StoryTaco.inc’s example. Lastly, Noah, though appearing meek, is apparently unafraid of zombies, as seen when first meeting him. The conversation with him heavily implies that he, too, is infected but still human. I can’t recall another game that has a romance option sharing the same affliction as the main character. Usually, when one or the other has something deadly, their love story ends with one of them dying. It’ll be interesting to see if Noah and the main character survive together.
Say the Right Thing
Everything you say and do has an impact on the world of Havenless. The right decision will increase affection with your love interests. Agreeing with one character over another is an example. Sometimes a decision will increase the affection of all your love interests. Affection also increases after going on Patrol and bringing back a gift, usually a flashlight. Patrolling takes three hours and can be sped up after watching an ad. When speaking, they give you two or three dialogue options to choose from. If you’re unsure which is best, use a Hint. After watching an ad, the Hint will light up the best choice. There aren’t ‘bad’ decisions, but the Hint tells you which will increase affection the most. Another way to get Hints is by spending Gems. You earn one Gem at the end of each episode of the story and receive three after watching an ad.
There is the occasional speaking choice that costs 100 Gems, but you’re not forced to pick it. As mentioned before, there are no ‘bad’ decisions. I believe the choices that cost gems unlock special scenes with love interests if you pick them. Gems also buy three special outfits for your character, though they are pricey at 450 Gems. It isn’t clear if the outfits serve a purpose or are just for decoration, so don’t worry about them. Additionally, Gems can be bought from the store with real money (the cheapest price, $2.49, giving you 430 Gems). Unlike a lot of choice-based romance games, there’s not much encouragement to spend actual money, which is rather refreshing.
Love in the Apocalypse
Havenless is an engaging, story-driven sim that has you trying to survive a zombie outbreak while falling in love. The characters are fully fleshed out and well-written, and you really feel for them. Each time you reach the end of an episode, you immediately want to start a new one. Will you beat your infection and end up with your preferred love interest? The only way to know is to keep making choices.
Is it Hardcore?
A female love interest and a game not insisting you use real money? Sign me up!