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Game Info:

Heaven's Hope
Developed by: Mosaic Mask Studios
Published by: EuroVideo Medien GmbH
Released: February 25, 2016
Available on: Windows, Mac
Genre: Point-and-click adventure
Number of players: 1|
Price: $19.99

Thank you, Mosaic Mask Studios, for sending us a copy of this game to review!

There's trouble in the small village of Heaven's Hope. A pair of tyrants have decided to continue the Inquisition in England, and they're starting with this sleepy hamlet. But help arrives in the form of a fiery comet! Wait, no... it's an angel. And not a very good one at that. He's lost his halo and burned up his wings. How is this fallen angel going to help Heaven's Hope and make his way back home?

This point-and-click adventure is the first game from Mosaic Mask Studios, a German company. In it, the player controls Talorel, who was knocked out of Heaven by a rival and forced to crash-land on Earth. He needs to figure out how to get back home before the archangels discover his absence, and he's captured by the inquisition, who will no doubt attempt to burn him for heresy.

The game has nice-looking, hand-drawn scenery, and an abundance of humor. I got a chuckle out of the main character's tying the soul of a mouse to its corpse's tail. The game also includes references to Monty Python sketches. 

 

Heaven's Hope
Highlights:

Strong Points: Nicely detailed scenery; some amusing scenes
Weak Points: Jerky animation; repetitive dialogue and music; tedious gameplay; dull characters
Moral Warnings: Angels are depicted in a negative light; God's name taken in vain; only one church depicted, and it's the main antagonist of the game; undead and demons present; some of the books tread on sexual issues; stereotypical depictions of some races and cultures.

Unfortunately, most of the jokes in the game tend to fall flat, mainly due to repetition. The characters feel uninspired, and I found it difficult to play the game, simply because I just didn't care about the people in the story. I had to repeat several dialogue options, and even had to consult a few video walkthroughs, simply because I didn't know I had to follow the same dialogue trees several times. Although the voice acting is decent, it grew tiring to repeatedly listen to the same lines.

The game has a few odd quirks, too. Despite the nice-looking graphics, this tends to be disrupted when the jerky animation kicks in. The actions are repetitive, and the motions of the mouths do not match those of the words. In addition, the default language is German, so at first it took me a few moments to figure out how to switch the controls to English. Fortunately, my wife speaks German, so I could have relied on her help, if need be.

Some of the controls seem to be a bit odd as well. For example, when trying to select a saved game, the cursor will stick when you click the first time, and then refuse to move until you click again. Likewise, with the ever-present sliding block puzzles that can be found in nearly every iteration of adventure games, your character can slide one of the blocks... but then it seems to be hopelessly stuck to it, and no  command seems to work to move to another block to slide. Fortunately, there is an option to reset the puzzle and, if it takes too long, skip the puzzle entirely and move on with the rest of the story. It's possible that my issues were the results of a poor port to the Mac operating system, so Windows users may not suffer with the same issues.

 

Heaven's Hope
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 62%
Gameplay - 9/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 71%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 7.5/10
Sexual Content - 8/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 6/10

The angels in the game also seem considerably less than angelic. As previously mentioned, Talorel is knocked out of Heaven by a rival, who seems to have a particular hatred for the hero of the story. The player also has the option of stealing things from some of the mortals (and there's even an achievement if the player does this). To pass some puzzles, Talorel needs to be rude and insulting to others, including St. Peter. Talorel also has the power to raise beings from the dead... including beings that weren't necessarily alive in the first place. If that weren't bad enough, this angel is also the first in the game to break one of the 10 Commandments by taking God's name in vain. Although many of the angels do seem clueless about the world (e.g. they have no concept of distance), you would think that they would have a pretty decent grasp of morality and commandments. They are depicted more as aliens who have the power of life and death, rather than heavenly messengers. (Especially given that one of Talorel's "wingmen" seems to have a particular interest in a book called "flagellation," these angels are no angels. There are a few other references that skirt the edge of sexuality as well, but these are fortunately few and far between.)

There only seems to be one church in Heaven's Hope as well – a strict, Catholic-style church which attempts to bring back an Inquisition, which includes burning people at the stake. The church is not well-liked by the populace, or the angels, and it seems that everyone is acting against it in some subtle fashion. Other moral aspects to consider include the use of alcohol and tobacco, including smuggling said products, stereotypical depictions of Asians and Middle Easterners, and the appearance of undead and demons. As for violence, although there is plenty of it implied – especially with burnings at the stake – I have yet to see anything other than a digested mouse skeleton inside the stomach of a bear. 

If you're hoping to have a little slice of Heaven with this game, prepare to be disappointed. It's a pretty-looking game, but that's about all it has going for it. Jerky animation, a tedious plot, and dull characters will make you want to leave the small English village almost as soon as you arrive. 

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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