The GWJ Adventure Game Club - Game 33: Heaven’s Vault

Heaven's Vault (2019)


Developed and published by Inkle (known for the Sorcery! games and their delightful spin on 80 Days), Heaven's Vault is an archaeological science-fiction adventure game. Playing as Aliya and accompanied by robot Six, you set out for the moons of the Nebula, searching for a missing roboticist. As you travel from world to world, decipher and learn the hieroglyphic language of the Ancients. Received favorably, the game was praised for its non-linear approach, narrative storytelling and impactful choices.

You can find the game's official website here, usual spoiler warning apply. How Long to Beat estimates about 16 hours to completion. Available platforms are PlayStation 4, Windows, and Switch.

The main thread is over that way. We'll be playing Heaven's Vault in July 2021, with an extra month should you require it.

Curious to hear peoples opinions on this one. Really interesting idea, and a game that encourages taking some notes along they way.

I'm about halfway through my second playthrough. I'm glad to see more people playing this; it really is special.

Awesome! I'm looking forward to playing this one.

I stopped waiting for this one to roll up in the club (drat!) and played it a couple months ago, and I loved it. I will say that I struggled a bit with the pacing, and I found it was a bit frustrating trying to squeeze in a quick session when I didn't have a sufficient amount of time to sink into it. It moves at its own deliberate pace and won't be rushed, which I think does serve a purpose but might be good to be aware of in advance.

Now reconsidering a second playthrough...

I started playing Heaven's Vault. I can see what benign1 says about the pacing but I'm ok with it so far. I can imagine it getting a bit frustrating if you find yourself wanting to make long trips back and forth around the Nebula, though. I'm also struggling with how much agency you really have in the translation game. It is not clear when the characters decide that you definitely got a word right or wrong. I do enjoy the guessing part of it, though. And I'm finding the story interesting. It's probably not a bad idea to take notes, like Shadout suggested, at least on the things you want to do the next time you load the game, since there are no missions or task assignments.

I just finished the game in about 11 hours, according to Steam. This is a lot less than the 16hs in HLTB so I have no idea whether their estimate is very inaccurate or if I just skipped a bunch of stuff. I am certain I did not see every place and ruin there was to see, but I also don't think you are necessarily meant to do that (well, you're obviously not since I finished the game). I did unlock a "Start+" that I have not tried yet, but I have a guess about what it could do. I'll give it a shot, although I don't think I would do a whole another playthrough.

I definitely enjoyed the game, even if there are a couple of frustrating things. One of them is that the dialogue choices don't make it totally clear what the character is going to do after making each choice. For example, it was not obvious to me that I was getting to a point of no return at the end until it was too late. Otherwise, I would have probably explored a bit more.

11 hours definitely seems fast! I did a moderate (but not nearly exhaustive) amount of exploring and finding more things to translate, and I clocked in around 18 hours.

was going to start this on a Game+ mode but it doesn't seem to have cloud saves and the original file is on a different laptop so going to have to track it down and copy it across manually at some point i guess, which is a hassle.

Started on Switch, I like the amount of sarcasm I'm allowed in my dialog choices

benign1 wrote:

11 hours definitely seems fast! I did a moderate (but not nearly exhaustive) amount of exploring and finding more things to translate, and I clocked in around 18 hours.

Yeah, I was really surprised when I realized I was at the end. I wasn't trying to beeline it on purpose, but maybe I did.

I started the Game+ yesterday and it looks like a whole playthrough from the beginning, except that you keep all your knowledge about ancient language. I'll see if I feel like going a bit deeper into it. The only problem I have with it is that now the slow pace of the game becomes more frustrating because I remember a lot of the dialogue and I don't really need/want Aliya to introduce me to every moon. However, it would be interesting to uncover stuff I did not find before.

It's really a bummer that the game doesn't have cloud saves, Saga, I hope you can find yours!

Tanglebones wrote:

Started on Switch, I like the amount of sarcasm I'm allowed in my dialog choices :)

Yeah, although the NPC's can be a little less subtle...


Downloaded last night, and started this morning when I took a Mental Health Day. I'd seen a little bit of this back around release, probably Giant Bomb's quick look, and thought it looked neat. Now that I'm actually playing, I'm quite in love with the style, pace, and mood. In fact, I have this nice continuum going, because I'm still doing Observation, a very grounded, contemporary tech setting, I'm still enjoying ME:LE, more distantly in the future with much higher tech, but still very tactile, and now this, so distantly in the future with technology so advanced its become almost pastoralist.

Finished my second playthrough. I sure missed a lot of stuff the first time around!


The pigs told you what!?

And even after two, there's still a lot I'm not sure about. Off to read some spoilers, I think...

Arise thread! So I just started playing in my grand "post op" plan of trying to catch up. I really dig the vibe it's giving me! Though I'm not sure if I can juggle the stream and the text/dialog all at once, we'll see how that goes. I only played about an hour, so I haven't gotten super far, but I'm definitely looking forward to it!

rosestewar wrote:

the game is very interesting, but I prefer shooters with a lot of online

The adventure game might not be for you then, and that's okay!

So in my quest to catch up post op, I've put a solid 7-8 hours in Heaven's Vault, and I'm really enjoying. The interactions between Aliyah and Six are just.... *chef's kiss* and I'm having a great time navigating and finding as many inscriptions as I can. I've puzzled out at least 30 words and locked in more than 10 translations according to the achievements, if that's anything to go by.

Y’all!!!! So I went to a “steel empire site” and headed down a ladder to a place I probably shouldn’t have and **mindblown**


And I also had Six transform into Enkei, that mean empress, but I had Myari switch back to Six. And then I was down in that pit and I thought I was gonna die and I met the vault god and I was sent back to Elboreth and waaaa! Am I stranded now?

I can’t wait to play more.

I got a bit diverted, but I did finally...reach an end point, I guess is the way to put it, because NG+ is apparently very encouraged, and I would very much like to do that.


I kept getting the sense that the sprawling history I was dusting off was too disparate and expansive to be forced together into something linear, and I was very, very cool with that. I was also haunted by a feeling of Xenogears, which turns out to be pretty funny.

Oh how delightful!
I’m glad you enjoyed it, SpaceP! And for what it’s worth, I got the same impression as you did (referring to the first part of your spoiler).