Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved the point and click genre.
Heaven’s Hope is a point and click adventure developed by Mosaic Mask Studios and published by EuroVideo Medien GmbH. I had high hopes for this game (no pun intended), because of the original concept and beautiful art style, and though I was disappointed overall, these two elements are still strong. You play as Talorel, an angel who has fallen from heaven onto Earth and must make his way back. Unfortunately, his wings are gone and his halo has lost its power (apparently, an angel’s power comes from his/her halo). In this journey to return to heaven, you meet several interesting characters and solve many puzzles. It sounds ideal, right? The problem is that Heaven’s Hope has every element of creating an engaging point and click adventure, but doesn’t flesh out many of these ideas, leaving what feels like a hollow shell to the player.
The positives of Heaven’s Hope are few in number, but make up for it in their quality. As stated before, the concept of the story is interesting and has a lot of potential. Many point and click adventures rely on a “mystery” story, where you play as a detective and must solve a case, usually involving a murder. These aren’t necessarily bad, but the idea has been overdone. Playing as an angel on Earth opens the door for clever jokes, writing, and character interactions. Some of these are utilized, but it feels that there is much lost potential over the idea.
Thankfully, the artistic design is so well done, that the flaws of the concept idea don’t even matter. Heaven’s Hope has a storybook-like charm to it as far as its art goes. There are over 30 animated character to interact with and 35 hand-drawn locations to explore, and each of them are extremely detailed with contrasting colors and intricate designs, creating a visually impressive world. Occasionally during the story, most notably during background segments, you jump to 2D drawings of characters talking to one another. These drawings resemble book illustrations and further help craft the “storybook” art style of Heaven’s Hope. Alongside the art, the music is top notch. Each track is very charming and helps build the atmosphere you are in, whether in the depths of a catacomb or on a peaceful farm.
Despite the beautiful art, interesting concept, and excellent music, Heaven’s Hope falls flat in just about every other category.
The protagonist, Talorel, is completely unlikable. Instead of having a curious mentality, as he is in an unfamiliar world, he has somewhat of a pompous and selfish attitude, always asking how something is supposed to help him and not allowing you to solve certain puzzles. Many times, he will outright refuse to perform an action, even if you know that’s the solution to the puzzle. For example, your halo ends up going down a chimney, and instead of just allowing it to fall to the bottom of the fireplace so he can retrieve it, Talorel exclaims that he refuses to because he doesn’t want it getting dirty. This kind of attitude makes Talorel either pretentious or wimpy, neither of which are likable character traits. This attitude lasts throughout the story too, which makes it hard for a player to want to control him. Talorel also likes to point out the obvious. Like any other point and click game, you’re able to click on objects to get a description of them, usually to see if it could be useful in solving a puzzle. Almost everything you click on in Heaven’s Hope is given a very basic description. Say you click on a lantern to see if you’re able to use it somehow. Talorel will say something along the lines of, “That’s a lantern. It produces light.” I understand that’s what a lantern is, Talorel, but I assumed you’d have something more to say about it than that! If an object isn’t used in either solving a puzzle or building up a character or atmosphere, then it shouldn’t be clickable. I tend to click every available option in point and clicks to get a better baring on my environment, and things like that just waste my time. Finally, Talorel’s understanding of earthly things is completely inconsistent. He’ll refer to humans as “earthlings,” which sounds more alien-like than angelic (wouldn’t he understand humans since he used to be one?) first of all, but then later, act completely different. He doesn’t know what a mouse is, calling it a “furball,” or a crow, calling it a “winged creature,” but he does know what a spider is. How would Talorel know exactly what one thing is but not another? This may seem to be nitpicking but it really takes you out of the story and the character you’re controlling when you notice these inconsistencies, which happen constantly by the way.
The puzzles in Heaven’s Hope are a mixed bag; some of them are good, but others are terrible.
Most are fairly simple, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but many of them are confusing. Early on, you have to hide in a man’s house from an enemy. There are several options available: the chimney, a chandelier, and a closet. Having much experience in this kind of situation, I immediately went for the closet, but was chided by Talorel because it was “too dark” inside of it. I then tried the chimney, and Talorel said that he wouldn’t fit. The correct answer was on top of the chandelier, because of course, that’s the “perfect” hiding spot for an angel, as said by Talorel. The enemy didn’t see him either. Perhaps this was supposed to be funny, and it might be to some, but when puzzles sacrifice a player’s knowledge for a joke that may or may not work, then the player feels cheated for solving a puzzle instead of the satisfaction of figuring it out logically.
On the subject of jokes, I think I should point out that Heaven’s Hope has decent writing, but the voice acting is terrible. No matter how good a script is, it’s up to the actor(s) to correctly deliver those lines. If the actor(s) does well, then the audience ends up roaring in laughter, but if not, then the audience remains silent. Heaven’s Hope had me stay silent most of the time because of its voice acting. Some of the voice actors put life and energy into their characters, but these characters had few lines and interactions. Of all of the characters, though, Talorel’s voice actor is the worst. It sounds like he is just casually reading off a list of lines because each line of his has the exact same tone and delivery, and it’s all very unenthusiastic. Other voice actors can be quite jarring as well, especially your two angel companions, Salome and Azeal. Salome provides guidance to Talorel, while Azeal makes snarky comments, which should’ve been great for me, as my favorite kind of humor stems from snark and sarcasm, but almost none of it worked effectively. These three characters have the bulk of “jokes,” but their flat delivery and bad timing ruin almost every single one. Of the all the hours I played Heaven’s Hope, I only audibly laughed once, and maybe chuckled once or twice. Most of the time I wasn’t even smiling, and for a game that claims to be “a cleverly funny point ‘n click adventure,” this is a huge issue.
I was disappointed in Heaven’s Hope. The concept is unique and the artwork and music are simply wonderful. There’s even a fast travel option in-game to make it easier to go back and forth between locations, something other games in the genre should use. However the mediocre puzzles, unlikable protagonist, and terrible voice acting kept me from really enjoying this game. Playing through at times felt like a chore, and a point and click adventure should never feel like that. What’s really sad to me is that I can tell that the developer’s put a good amount of time and energy into Heaven’s Hope. There are some creative elements here, but so much holds it back from standing out amongst the crowd. I have to give Heaven’s Hope a 60.