HEVN free two-hour demo teases intriguing, contemplative sci-fi exploration

When HEVN first caught my eye back in February, I was taken by its premise and, despite noting its supposed Deus Ex and System Shock inspiration, thought it leaned more towards the likes of Event [0] and Soma. Having now spent a couple of hours stalking the lonely corridors of its abandoned Naic space station I can affirm my initial impressions. HEVN is a slow burner, but I'm now keen to see where it steers its story from here on. 

Filling the space boots of one Sebastian Mar, HEVN's two hour-long demo—which can be downloaded free-of-charge from either itch.io or the game's website—kicks off with a surreal dream before dropping players into the aforementioned isolated vessel. Pursuing a dangerous celestial mining mission, Mar is said to have fled an "overcrowded" planet Earth and is assisted by a central AI system aboard his new digs. 

HEVN's opening half hour establishes Mar's routine as he explores his working, social and living quarters in turn. In doing so, he learns about his employer, his place at his new company and his daily duties. At one stage he discovers colleague Edna, hard at work in a nearby quadrant, hasn't clocked in for three days, which is the first sign things are a little off. Increasingly frequent tremors, a power cut, and a hallucinatory episode underscore his reservations—accentuated further still by Edna's strange and scrambled broadcasts.     

Around the 45 minute mark, I made my way into a maintenance shaft which is where HEVN really starts to open up. I'll let you experience it first hand, but it's here where it begins to finds its stride—despite some of overly methodological exploration segments up to this point.      

It's still a little rough around the edges—I experienced some notable texture pop-in at one stage, for example, and while I don't expect games to hold my hand, HEVN could do with a little more in the way of helping players move between objectives, even if the game desires players search each and every one of its nooks and crannies. That said, it's not due till July 19 which means there's time to sort these minor issues before then.   

Again, check out HEVN's free demo over here. From what I've played so far, it's a considered and thoughtful sci-fi exploration game with an interesting story to tell. I look forward to hearing more from it next month.