Yacht Club Games, developers of the excellent Shovel Knight, has announced its next project: Mina the Hollower, a top-down 2D dungeon-y roguelike that has serious The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening vibes. The project was revealed alongside a kickstarter that's already shot past its initial goal of raising $230,000 (it's currently around $263,000).
The game's designed with a Game Boy Color aesthetic, runs at 60fps, and is channelling plenty of other classic Japanese titles alongside Zelda. The environments and whip instantly call Castlevania to mind, while the developer description also mentions Bloodborne: I didn't catch a trick weapon in there, but who knows.
Link's Awakening is the dominant influence however: The forward-flip jumping animation is one of many straight visual tributes, alongside obvious elements like pot-chucking and screen-edge-scrolling. As well as the central castle area, the game world also features side areas like a town filled with NPCs and other locations including a swamp (maybe that's the Souls influence (opens in new tab)).
The game features trinkets for special effects, various weapons alongside the whip, and the 'Hollower' part of the title refers to Mina's ability to burrow underground for a few seconds. This move increases your speed, avoids damage, and sees Mina pop out at the other end ready to crack the whip. Despite the range of options, and in-keeping with the handheld vibe, almost everything's controlled with the d-pad and two buttons.
There's also a curious-sounding levelling system, which may be where the Souls reference comes in. Defeating foes and various other activities sees you collect bones, which act as both currency and experience: But there is a yet-unspecified way to lose them. I'm going to take a wild guess that it's something like the bloodstain system—fine by me, as it's a great addition to the right kind of game.
The kickstarter's already funded, and the only slightly bum note is that the estimated release date is December 2023. Yacht Club Games may also be working on an unannounced 3D title (opens in new tab) but, if the studio's exemplary support for Hollow Knight's anything to go by, expect Mina the Hollower to have an extremely long tail (opens in new tab).