Like many other people, I enjoy and appreciate the gameplay of The Legend of Zelda series, especially the pre-Ocarina of Time era of the franchise. The action, exploration, and puzzle solving provided many hours of excitement and good times that stuck with me and so many other people throughout the years. For some, it became an inspiration to get into game design and create games in the same spirit as that iconic and legendary series. This is the case with Hazelnut Bastille, whose inspiration pulls heavily from games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
Hazelnut Bastille is a game being funded on Kickstarter by indie game developer Aloft Studio. Originally founded in 2013, the studio made a game called Sticks & Starships, a space exploration game that was something very different then what they’ve been working on now. At the time of its creation, the Kickstarter for Hazelnut Bastille was aiming to fund the game’s development for PC and consoles like the Nintendo Switch, with successive goals allowing for more platforms to be added later on. Though the game is still in its earlier phases of development, the team at Aloft Studio had a demo for both press and Kickstarter backers to try out and see what direction the team was going. After spending time playing the demo, I can safely say that what they have is interesting and will really stand out to Zelda fans looking for a kind of new adventure to dive into.
The story of Hazelnut Bastille is about a young woman who travels to a new area far from her home. She’s seeking out some treasures in order to return something that was once lost to her. While the story is cryptic for the time being, it has the same type of mythological approach that one would find in the Zelda series. Whether the lore of the game’s world will be as in-depth or complex is anyone’s guess at this point.
The demo hardly provided any answers for what to expect upon the game’s release, but I was totally fine with only getting a hint of what the larger story would be. There are a number of characters I ran into in various spots of the demo, but I couldn’t tell if these NPCs will have larger roles in the greater narrative. But definitely, expect to run into a lot of different characters as you explore each area of the game’s world.
Hazelnut Bastille looks and feels like a 16-bit Zelda game, but it’s not solely a carbon copy of the formula. The visual style and controls are similar, but the puzzles and scenarios you find yourself in can vary. It felt natural moving around different areas and interacting with NPCs standing idly by in buildings and nearby fields. Finding objects to interact with for puzzles can take some finesse and cleverness, especially when you’re figuring out a small puzzle to move onto the next area. Luckily for me and everyone previewing the game, a number of different items and abilities were readily available to use in different situations.
There are plenty of items to discover throughout and utilize against the enemies that populate the land you explore. There’s a bunch of creatures and baddies that will lurk in corners and open paths, all of which have a number of unique attacks and great animations too. You’ll have to be vigilant and move around a lot when fighting enemies that appear in groups. The game isn’t too difficult, but don’t go into this expecting everything to be a simple walk in the park either.
The demo had a number of areas to explore, but it didn’t encapsulate what the entire world of Hazelnut Bastille might hold when the game is fully released. I was able to explore a town, some forest area, as well as a dungeon with a boss fight inside. It took a few hours to explore everything within the demo, but Aloft Studio is promising to have a nearly 30-hour experience in the final game, plus additional bonus content added on to that. For what’s there, Hazelnut Bastille is shaping up to be a good game for Zelda fans looking for something different.
There’s no set release date for the game, possibly not until the Kickstarter reaches its goal, but you may want to keep an eye on this one if this style of action game is right up your alley. Here’s hoping we’ll be able to publish a review of Hazelnut Bastille for Nintendo Switch for everyone at some point.
These impressions were based on a demo build preview of Hazelnut Bastille for PC, provided by Aloft Studio.