ReviewsReview: Havendock

Review: Havendock


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Life on the open ocean isn’t supposed to be easy. However, if you create the right plan, get the right people, and work together, then everything should be good, right? Well, that’s the goal when you take on the latest colony sim game, Havendock. This Early Access title is rich in content and has an experimental multiplayer mode. Moreover, the developers love to add content and that’s something that impresses me.

Developed by YYZ and published by Different Tales and Indieark, this is a relaxed simulation title. What’s more, there is automation, colony management, and an abundance of merchants, fish, and resources. On top of this, the research elements are massive, the base building is fascinating, and this addictive title will only get better.

Organise your settlement to get the best out of your people.
A nicely organised settlement.

Havendock tells a familiar tale. 

Disaster has struck, and you are stranded on a beach in the middle of the ocean. You scream, shout, and holler, but no one can hear you. Instead, you are kept company by fish and a never-ending stream of flotsam and jetsam. Accordingly, instead of moping about and losing your shit, you pick up anything helpful and start building. Within no time at all, your tiny structure is massive, and you become a self-sufficient colony. However, without the help of others, you are bound to fail. Therefore, make your town as attractive as you can and make the most out of a poor situation.

Havendock incorporates many mechanics of its counterparts. Think of Factorio or Rimworld, and you get the idea. Yet, unlike those titles, this doesn’t demand as much micromanagement. Instead, it is more straightforward and less stressful. Subsequently, it is the perfect game for lovers of the genre and those that wish for a more casual experience. 

Expansion and planning are the key.

Though Havendock is more stripped-back than other games, planning and preparation are key gameplay mechanics. Accordingly, you must expand your base while managing resources, investing in research, and appeasing your settlers. Moreover, you must grow or catch food, produce clean water, and provide entertainment and housing for everyone on board. Alongside this, you’ll trade with floating merchants as you enhance friendships and sell unwanted goods.

When everything is going to plan, the action is smooth, enjoyable, and manageable. However, poor weather and unhappy individuals can change the course of your playthrough. Additionally, if you run out of food or water, or injuries and exhaustion kick in, things can quickly turn south. As such, you must expand gradually and plan your layout to make everything as efficient as possible. 

You must use technology to survive a little longer.
Distill that sea water and survive a little longer.

Research and friendships are key.

You may not like having a large friendship circle. Yet, in Havendock, it is essential. If you do not appease the merchants, you’ll miss out on key items. Furthermore, if you do not have these game-changing items, your progress will stall and that’s never good. Consequently, you must sell unwanted goods to increase the love between yourself and every trader. 

With your resources sorted and a stable base, you must focus on progression and research. The massive research tree brings your rudimentary settlement from the stone ages all the way to a high-tech wonderland. However, researching every item isn’t easy, as new resources are required to move forward. 

This isn’t a new idea, but the balanced requirements for each new item or tier of goods were excellent. As such, though it is a little grindy in nature, the action never feels overwhelming and you are always in control.

Havendock is unbelievably cute. 

This calm and cosy colony simulation title is unbelievably cute to look at. With simple sprites and a soft colour palette, it is pleasant to the eye. Furthermore, as you expand your base, you’ll find secrets galore, strange creatures to befriend, and a never-ending stream of materials in the water. Alongside this, the buildings look great, each plant looks unique, and the UI is phenomenal. With minimal stats to observe and easy-to-understand priority settings, the developers have got things just right.

A serene atmosphere needs an uplifting and gentle soundtrack. Thankfully, Havendock sounds as good as it looks. Additionally, the excellent sound effects help to set the scene. Whether it is the crack of lightning, the roar of a fire, or the whoosh of every wave, it sounds fantastic. 

Havendock demands that you balance happiness and survival.
Keep your settlers entertained.

Surprisingly easy to play.

The simulation genre is dominated by complicated titles. Furthermore, most are cruel time sinks that overtake your life. Fortunately, though, this takes a different path. With simple controls and an excellent UI, it is surprisingly easy to pick up and play. However, it cannot be played on Steam Deck and this was disappointing. Consequently, the developers should focus on this platform to enhance the experience. 

Though this is a casual example of the genre, it is no less addictive than its counterparts. As such, you can and will invest hours of your time. Thanks to its massive research tree and the freedom to build as you wish, you are afforded plenty of creative licence. On top of this, the developers are adding regular content updates to improve it further still. 

Havendock won’t disappoint you.

Thanks to its hearty blend of cute characters, challenging moments, and base building, Havendock won’t disappoint you. What’s more, the drip-fed content, excellent research tree, and massive map make this a moreish title. Though it is in Early Access, it is thoroughly enjoyable and has masses of content. Accordingly, I recommend that you buy it here! Can you build a base and thrive? Grab any resources, expand your settlement, and welcome survivors with open arms. 


Havendock is a cute and addictive base building title. Can you manage yourself, your settlers, and the surrounding world to survive for as long as possible? Build structures, farm, fish, and dive below the waves in this wonderfully deep city-building experience.

+ Cute graphics.
+ Relaxing audio.
+ Easy to pick up and play.
+ A great concept.
+ Casual gameplay loop.
+ Challenging and rewarding ideas.
+ An excellent Early Access title.

- It can be hard to keep all the cogs moving.
- There is an element of grinding if you wish to progress.
- Not compatible with Steam Deck.

(Rating: n/a Release date: 20/04/2023 Price: £13.99)

(Reviewed on PC using Steam. Only available on PC)

Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email:

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<p class="has-text-align-justify" style="font-size:14px"><em>Havendock</em> is a cute and addictive base building title. Can you manage yourself, your settlers, and the surrounding world to survive for as long as possible? Build structures, farm, fish, and dive below the waves in this wonderfully deep city-building experience.</p><br/> + Cute graphics.<br/> + Relaxing audio.<br/> + Easy to pick up and play.<br/> + A great concept.<br/> + Casual gameplay loop.<br/> + Challenging and rewarding ideas.<br/> + An excellent Early Access title.<br/> <br/> - It can be hard to keep all the cogs moving.<br/> - There is an element of grinding if you wish to progress.<br/> - Not compatible with <b>Steam Deck</b>.<br/> <br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(<b>Rating:</b> n/a <b>Release date:</b> 20/04/2023 <b>Price:</b> £13.99)</p><br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(Reviewed on PC using Steam. Only available on PC)</p><br/>Review: Havendock