Shovel Knight devs’ next game is the gothic Link’s Awakening
Yacht Club Games, developers of the excellent Shovel Knight, has announced its next project: Mina the Hollower, a top-down 2D dungeon roguelike with a no-nonsense Zelda: Link’s Awakening Ambience. The project was revealed along with a kickstarter that has surpassed its initial goal of raising $230,000 (currently around $263,000).
The game features Game Boy Color aesthetics, runs at 60 fps, and, along with Zelda, leads many other classic Japanese games. The environment and whip immediately reminded me of Castlevania, and the dev’s description also mentions Bloodborne: I didn’t catch a trick weapon in it, but who knows.
However, Link’s Awakening is the main influence: the jumping animation that flips forward is one of many direct visual tributes, along with some obvious elements like pot grabbing and scrolling around the edges of the screen. In addition to the central castle area, the game world has side areas such as towns filled with NPCs and other places including swamps (which may be soul influences).
The game features trinkets with special effects, various weapons next to the whip, and the “hollow” 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 jumping out of the other end ready to swing the whip. Although the options are extensive and in keeping with the handheld vibe, almost everything can be controlled via the d-pad and two buttons.
(Image credit: Yacht Club Games)
There’s also a weird-sounding upgrade system, which could be the source of the Soul reference. Defeating enemies and various other activities will see you collecting bones, which are both currency and experience: but there’s an as-yet-unspecified way to lose them. I’d take a wild guess that it’s similar to the bloodstain system – fine for me as it’s a nice addition to the right type of game.
The kickstarter is already funded, with the only quibble being the expected launch date of December 2023. Yacht Club Games may also be working on an unannounced 3D game, but if the studio has any support for Hollow Knight, expect Mina Hollower to have a very long tail.
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