Heaven's Vault is an amazing video game (Available on Switch, PS4, and Steam). It's an "archaeological science fiction adventure game". You play as an archaeologist in a Nebula system, exploring, finding artifacts, learning about the history and ancient language.
They had a demo weekend on Steam a few weeks back. I tried the demo and didn't want it to end! I bought the full game same day. I love the unique puzzle aspect of the language deciphering. It is so satisfying when you can start matching up the different words. As you go along, you get more complex words and phrases. But they make sense based off previous similar words you discover.
Artifacts aren't just for reading inscriptions to learn the language and history, they are also used for bartering, or given to the scholars perhaps in exchange for similar items they have. Finding multiple items from a similar region will narrow down a search area on your map for discovering a new site.
Space travel is also unique. Traveling between the moons of the Nebula, you sail your ship on the rivers connecting them. It is very soothing, and the views are gorgeous. Once you have been to a location you can fast travel by having your robot companion take the wheel, but often those travel times have dialogue where you can delve deeper into the lore, talking about recent finds and revelations.
This is an open world game. You are given a main task, but how you go about solving it is up to you. There are multiple paths to the end game. My first play through took me 15 hours. I then started up a new game plus, which the developers consider to be the true game. As you start with some existing knowledge of the language (saving what you've learned your first game), the inscriptions generated tend to be even more complex. I am still discovering words and phrases I can't even begin to translate. And that excites me. And I've already found things (both artifacts and lore) that I missed the first time.
I highly recommend this game for its depth in history, language, translation. If the demo becomes available again, give it a try. I hope you love it as much as I do.
Mary W. Jensen. Author, poet, gamer, library shelver.
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