Let’s be honest here, there have been dozens of games that have come out since The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was released way back on the SNES that have all drawn inspiration from the 16 bit classic. The fact that it never feels over saturated with these titles that draw such inspiration goes to show the sheer power that ALTTP holds, everybody loves it and everybody is welcoming when an inspired game is announced. That being said, a Zelda clone that’s purpose is purely to make money for being exactly like Zelda is something fans may scoff at but Hazelnut Bastille is no such game. Yes it clearly draws inspiration from ALTTP but it clearly holds its own cards in its hand and has more than enough reasons to keep gamers interested other than the way it looks.
Hazelnut Bastille will have players scratching their heads while they carefully implement their arsenal of weapons as they attempt to figure out the puzzles that lie ahead. Players will have to think carefully as they engage with NPC’s with life and social issues and will be compelled to explore the vast world in which Hezelnut Bastille resides. Aloft Studio are creating an exciting ARPG that focuses on exploration, combat, puzzle solving and a complex inventory system. Items play a central role in the game as there is no in game currency, players will have to keep an eye on what items they collect because the chances are they will need to use said items for bartering purposes. Also there are characters you will meet throughout the game that will require your assistance in obtaining certain items and you will also be able to use items for crafting purposes.
When it comes to combat, players may not have too much trouble dispatching a single enemy but the game shines when it offers up situations for players to overcome when they are in a room with several enemies. Weaker enemies will have strong ranged attacks, some enemies will be more aggressive while other enemies will cast debuffs on the player. These situations will provide a tough challenge for the player and we will have to be mindful of how we utilize the whole room for safe spots as well as learn the patterns of the enemies. There will be times when deciding which enemies to take down first will play a part with particular weapons that will aid us in these certain scenarios. Expect epic boss battles as well, the design of these bosses are incredible! My favourite at the moment being a giant skull with a crabs body that can fire waves of energy from its claws.
Hazelnut Bastille is divided into regions which players will have to find ways to explore. For example, players might encounter a barrier that will not allow them to access a new part of the world until they discover the right tools that enable them to bypass this barrier. New ways of traversing the world will be uncovered as the game is progressed and short cuts and abilities can be acquired in order to explore the expansive map. A pretty cool feature of the game is that players will be able to set coloured dots on the map to remind them of key areas and points of interest. Each region has it’s own story to be told which helps boost the encouragement of exploration in the game and with large maps and open worlds playing such a big part in todays standards, it has me excited to think that we are now getting such expansive game worlds in 16 bit styled games. The SNES is still probably my favourite console of all time and still fills me with joy every time I think about exploring the world of such games as Secret of Mana. Speaking of which, the lead composer of Secret of Mana Hiroki Kikuta is joining Aloft Studios as a celebrity guest composer for Hazelnut Bastille! If like me, you feel the need to get lost in an expansive 16 bit ARPG, what more would help you lose yourself than the melodies of the legendary Kikuta-San?!
While everything so far seems like the kind of game fans of this genre and era love, we haven’t even scratched the surface of what kind of story Hazelnut Bastille tells. Our protagonist is a young woman who has arrived at what seems like a largely hostile foreign land in search of the knowledge of a race of long-dead ancients on the edge of the world. While hoping to reclaim something that was lost to her, our protagonist meets lots of inhabitants along the way, each have escaped the troubles of their past hoping to make a new life in a new place. These characters will rely on the help of our protagonist and vice versa as she will gradually discover what it is exactly they have been running from in their old lives. The real journey begins when you meet a strange character who is able to recite our protagonists life story as soon as he lays eyes on her but there really is no need for me to tell you any more, try the demo which offers 2-3 hours of content including a level you will not find in the full game and I guarantee you will be pulled in!
While there is no current release date, Hazelnut Bastille will be released on PC, Mac and Linux and provided the stretch goal is hit, Nintendo Switch. Aloft Studio are working towards releasing the game on other consoles as well so expect a PlayStation 4 and Xbox 1 release as it seems as though the game is killing its kickstarter campaign. At the time of writing this, the campaign stands at £43,652 funded with a goal of £50,107 required with 26 days to go so there is no need to panic. It’s still worth backing if you want to see the game release on your preferred console and in order to make sure the game hits all of its cool stretch goals. You can also offer a $50 addon option for a physical only copy of the game provided enough people sign the necessary petition. A physical Nintendo Switch version is what I’m holding my breath for!
Surely by now you have enough info to make you want to at least try the game for yourselves? I can’t stress enough to try the demo as it will indeed leave you yearning for more. Let us know what you think in the comments below and don’t forget to follow Gaming Daze on twitter for more Indie magic! In the meanwhile, enjoy the gameplay trailer:
Witten by Sammy J on 3rd November 2018