Shattered Heaven is an enthralling rogue-lite deck-building RPG developed by Leonardo Production and co-published with Whisper Games. Released May 31 2023, the game plunges players into multiple runs through procedural generated dungeons. Each run enhances their inventory and team strength through new traits and skills. Read on for our Shattered Heaven review.
Follow the Vestal
Shattered Heaven presents a captivating narrative in a world where God is deceased, and humanity suffers. To redeem humanity, a Vestal and Warriors must confront the Betrayer Eris and her eight lieutenants, making the ultimate sacrifice.
The writers of Leonardo Production showcase an impressive imagination with clear world-building. Despite occasional lore dumps, they manage to strike the right balance, providing players with essential information through visual novel-style narrative sequences and cutscenes. The multiple branching storylines leading to three major endings add depth and replayability to the game.
A captivating gameplay loop
Shattered Heaven‘s gameplay loop is captivating, offering extensive customization options, diverse scenarios, enemy types, and substantial replayability. The core loop involves exploring dungeons, battling foes, and acquiring new cards to refine decks, making it endlessly engaging for fans of such games. The flexibility of different scenarios allows players to experiment with various builds and strategies, ensuring fresh experiences.
Despite the impressive gameplay, the exploration aspect lacks excitement and style, feeling rather mundane and methodical. The procedural generated interconnected rooms lack a sense of danger, making the dungeon exploration feel detached from the rest of the game.
Preparation is key
In the Equinox Cathedral, you have the opportunity to create or purchase potions to prepare yourselves before embarking on your dungeon explorations. Almost every dungeon you complete grants you new cards to enhance your base deck, along with talent points that can be allocated to a wide range of skills for all three members of your party.
At the main hub, you can equip your party with new skills obtained from the talent tree and modify your deck. There’s a limit to the number of legendary, rare, and common cards you can use, but you can upgrade this limit by collecting bones during your journeys through the dungeons, allowing for more powerful and rare cards in everyone’s deck.
Don’t leave anything behind
Fully exploring each part of the dungeons becomes crucial as you can obtain valuable items from chests, defeating certain monsters, or completing missions. These items permanently boost your health, damage output, and armor gained. Crafting potions and understanding the benefits of various crafting materials can make a significant difference in upcoming battles. Some combinations may debuff a single enemy, while others can provide the entire party with armor, health, or even a barrier, which is especially helpful when facing formidable bosses.
The talent tree offers a diverse range of unique abilities, and carefully considering all options before committing to a specific branch feels well thought out. Earning talent points upon finishing a dungeon is rewarding as it allows you to unlock desired passives or abilities.
Choose your dungeon
Upon entering a dungeon, you can choose the difficulty level; in this case, “vestal” is considered the normal mode. Additionally, you have the option to increase your bones yield by selecting a debuff or enemy buff for the entire dungeon floor, with most of these choices offering worthwhile rewards.
Dungeons are structured into rooms, each with potential events like blasphemous encounters, arcane occurrences, treasure finds, merchant encounters, or regular enemy battles. Resting sites are scattered throughout the floors, where you can spend points to smelt or draw cards, rest, and replenish health potions, which come in handy before facing the boss.
Combat encounters come with specific missions to complete, providing additional rewards such as upgrade materials, crafting items, and artifacts. Staying focused on these missions ensures you gather the essential resources to keep your party well-prepared. After each combat encounter the player is drafted a couple of cards that they may assign to one of the party members. These cards are unlike anything in your standard deck and can really make a huge impact.
Andora, the Vestal Virgin, specializes in offensive cards that can hinder enemies by delaying their turns or swiftly cycling through cards. Her deity power augments certain card effects, and her skills have cooldown timers that carry over between battles.
Magni, the stalwart guardian, focuses on defensive cards, many of which increase his or the party’s armor. He also gains abilities like phalanx and protector to reduce damage taken and draw single-target attacks to himself. Magni accumulates rage when struck, which he can then spend on using his skills.
Ishana, the outcast, possesses cards with multiple effects, depending on her thirst state. Some cards grant thirst while others consume it. Once her thirst bar is filled, her abilities gain additional effects while reducing thirst by one to afflict enemies with various debuffs like curse or pity, decreasing their damage output and increasing damage taken. Like Andora, Ishana’s skills have individual cooldown periods that carry over between battles.
Boss battles in Shattered Heaven are a unique challenge, featuring bosses with three health bars that require careful strategizing to overcome while ensuring your party’s survival. Each boss has a compelling story and motivation, adding depth and meaning to the battles.
A few minor criticisms of the otherwise excellent game design are noteworthy. First, much of the tech tree is locked behind story progression, limiting players’ ability to plan late-game builds in advance. Secondly, the game’s crafting system falls short of its advertised depth. Lastly, the frequent need to adjust combat difficulty can be cumbersome for players seeking consistent challenges.
Artwork at it’s finest
Shattered Heaven boasts stunning art direction, featuring gorgeous artwork and character models. Despite its dark themes, vibrant colors breathe life into each scene. The cards’ artwork is captivating, although some may not precisely match their descriptions. The game’s art direction beautifully complements the fall of man and themes of redemption, with stark contrasts and skillful use of colors.
However, the font choice and text size pose an issue, making reading challenging, especially with the colorful backdrops. Information overload also arises due to a cluttered presentation, which could have been streamlined for a better user experience. The decision to place the player’s party on the right side of the screen feels deliberate but ultimately uncomfortable. Shattered Heaven‘s music enhances the game’s atmosphere, adding weight to its themes and intense boss fights. The emotional music during cutscenes heightens their impact, and the limited but fitting voice acting adds further depth.
However, the sound design falls short, as exploration and combat lack immersive environmental sound effects. Weak sound effects during battles detract from the excitement of combat encounters, hampering the overall experience.In the Equinox Cathedral, you have the opportunity to create or purchase potions to prepare yourselves before embarking on your dungeon explorations. Almost every dungeon you complete grants you new cards to enhance your base deck, along with talent points that can be allocated to a wide range of skills for all three members of your party.
Shattered Heaven stands as an enthralling fusion of rogue-lite deck-building and RPG elements. The game offers a captivating gameplay loop, diverse characters, and an intriguing narrative. While some areas, such as the font choices and sound design, could be improved, the overall experience is rich with depth and replayability. We loved every moment and although flawed it did not take away from the game experience as a whole. As more content is released we will surely dive back into shattered heaven for round two.
- Beautiful Art Direction
- Diverse Characters
- Captivating Narrative
- Lackluster Sound Design
- Mundane Dungeon Exploration