A few weeks back I was browsing the Apple app store and saw a new featured game called Night Haven from Digital Chocolate. The general premise is similar to Farmville in that you build a little farm, grow crops, and harvest them. What is different is that you use your crops to brew potions to fling in the faces of spiders, werewolves, vampires, and giants when they come to destroy your town at night. This adds an element to the game that really attracts me. During the day I farm but at night I slay the vile creatures that have stolen my beautiful wife.
The only player
One of the funny things about Night Haven is that it basically does not exist on the internet as far as I can tell. Nobody is playing it and Digital Chocolate does the best it can to hide it on their website. At the very bottom there is a small link that says “Other Digital Chocolate games” that you have to click. Then you select iPhone games and you’ll find it. That was kind of funny to me. If you look for guides on Google you’re not going to find any. I see that the game has reviews but I’m pretty certain it is all for show. My true belief is that I am the only person on the planet that is playing the game. That can make it kind of lonely and it also makes it hard to get answers when I am confused.
The greatest frustration with Night Haven thus far is that the quests you’re given at low level aren’t necessarily achievable. I have a whole journal of tasks that I cannot complete because of a bug with a low level quest. Early on you’re asked to build a laboratory. To do so you need a wolf fur. You would think you can get a wolf fur from killing werewolves but no, you can’t. Night Haven also has pets that give items when they level. Thus, you might think by leveling your wolf pet you’d get wolf fur but no, you don’t. I’m level 49 now and I haven’t built a laboratory. Due to that fact I’ve been unable to make the strongest potions and that means defeating the monsters are harder than they should be. I also can’t finish any of the quests that require me to brew higher end potions. It is frustrating to say the least. I did find a single forum thread about the game where some guy who was level 54 said he did manage to finally get a fur. So in five more levels after I basically finish the entire game I might be able to start back on the quest line. Huzzah!
For the most part Night Haven works as intended. There are some little bugs that are annoying. For one, items seem to disappear. I could have sworn I had two spider webs a little while ago. Now I have only one after just finding a new one! I suspect that someone has been in my storage taking my webs!
Beyond web thievery there are some interface bugs. If you accidentally click on a field twice your character will try to double plant it, fail to do so, and give up doing anything else like the lazy, shiftless little bastard he is. He expects you to re-queue up the actions because it seems like not being able to double plant a field makes him forget how to plant other fields or chop wood. Combat is also slightly buggy. When you click a monster it stops so that you can use your item on it. Sometimes, however, the monster decides it doesn’t want to stop. It is like a honey badger, it just doesn’t give a damn. It will walk away and your character will go to where the monster was previously and attack the air. You still defeat the monster but it just seems buggy.
None of these bugs are show stopping but if I get a wolf fur and it disappears I’m going to be very upset. I might set fire to everyone in the town until they produce the stolen fur.
Give us your money
Digital Chocolate isn’t very coy about sticking their hands into your pockets either. There is no foreplay or gentle stroking. No, they get right to business and with very little restraint. You’re not a few minutes into the action before they’re trying to get your cash and shove crystals down your throat. Crystals can be used to buy equipment, gold, or wood. You can also use them to hurry actions. The problem is that equipment is marginally useful and when it comes to armor it is a consumable. A really expensive consumable.
Consumables in Night Haven aren’t your usual low cost street walker. If you want a rare component you may have to pay up to 100 crystals ($9.99) for it and it alone won’t necessarily get you what you want. The rate is even worse if you’re buying gold or wood. Digital Chocolate does give you a discount on crystals if you buy in bulk, which I applaud. So many games sell larger packets but don’t make it more cost effective. The final frustration I have with this is that wolf fur is not for sale. If I could have bought it I’d have done so by now! You’d think that would be a prime racket!
Despite all of the problems I actually do enjoy Night Haven. It has a lot of things going for it. You have progression through leveling, a fun system of hatching and improving pets, and some town building if you were able to get the components. It is kind of like a turn based strategy game stacked on top of Farmville.
I’m not certain if someone is even working on the game but I do hope so. According to Apple it was last updated in March of this year so I have faith. If you have some free time and want a fun iDevice game without a lot of commitment some strategic combat Night Haven is worth picking up for free. I just hope you have a better luck getting the wolf fur than I do!