The latest addition to online entertainment came out in the last two weeks, and it’s one which many hope—and some already believe—will raise the standard not only for its genre, but the medium as a whole.
This medium is online surveys, and the title? “Haven II.” Those familiar with the likes of classics such as Mapworks (due to its grade-locked condition, this is a rarer treat than ever these days), and of course Haven II’s predecessor, Haven, will be familiar with the playstyle of navigating its puzzling interface by any means necessary.
Haven I is a difficult piece of media to place in any one genre. On the surface it’s a point-and-click adventure in the same vein as Monkey Island or Grim Fandango.
However, I believe this is too simplistic of a descriptor. Some would argue that its off-putting subject matter and the bizarro-universe it presented provided a bit of a survival horror element. Still others argue that the ability to self-assign perks through a list of positive/negative traits caused it to resemble popular RPGs such as Fallout or even Borderlands.
The inability of Haven I to place itself in one genre lends itself well to my belief that Haven is a series meant to transcend genre-limitations. One thing that can be universally agreed upon, however, is the overwhelming popularity Haven I managed to achieve throughout campus.
One stunning statistic reveals that Haven I was completed by nearly every student enrolled in the University of Tulsa. How many people, then, must have anticipated “Haven II” as fiercely as I? After all, Haven I seemed only the beginning to a promising franchise, solidified by its masterful ending message: “Part II will be available at a later date.”
Now that Haven II is upon us, my opinion is not wholly positive. It begins promisingly enough, with a brilliant introduction that places the user in a fourth-wall breaking scenario in which they are surveyed regarding their opinion of the survey itself. It’s the sort of meta-narrative that, if executed correctly, can elevate a title to cult status.
Beyond that, the user is provided a few familiar scenarios, each with a disappointingly simple solution. Where are the clever twists of the predecessor?
Alas, even more to my dislike was the unfulfilling conclusion to the title. I first feared that Haven II might be lacking in length when I accessed the introductory screen and found only three sections, a severe downgrade from the first installment, which had twice the amount of content. I fear that Everfi means to release the missing/cut content separately, unfortunately a common practice these days (especially in course evaluation surveys, which are released in individual parts.)
I take some solace in the fact that the release of Haven II means the revitalization of the series’ online community. While Haven I’s absence from e-sports competitions is duly noted, a plethora of live-streamers have adopted the title to attract new viewers. Other speedrunners have quickly dissected the survey, using such ingenious tactics as “preferring not to answer” and “viewing video transcript.”
On a final note, I was especially excited to see some streamers using the funds they’d gained from Haven II to give to charities. It’s inspiring to see something many believe to be solely meant for entertainment finally benefit a good cause.