From the studio that brought us the Shovel Knight series comes a new game without shovels but arguably just as much digging. Yacht Club Games made a name for themselves in 2014 with the release of Shovel Knight. Since then, this studio has gone on to release more titles with their shovel-wielding hero with their most recent being Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon and Shovel Knight Dig planned for release in 2022. However, their biggest announcement comes in the form of a brand new title, Mina The Hollower. Its Kickstarter campaign launched with a goal of $311,503. Supporters from all over jumped into action and broke that goal with a whopping $419,822.94 at the time of writing. Though the game is still far from release, it's drawn a lot of attention for its appearance, lore, and gameplay features.
What Is Mina The Hollower?
Yacht Club Games is repeating their love-letter style of design with Mina The Hollower. Much like how the first Shovel Knight was a tribute to classic 8-bit style games on the NES, this title promises to be a tribute to classic Game Boy games.
The team describes Mina The Hollower as a "bone-chilling action-adventure featuring classic gameplay and an 8-bit aesthetic in the style of Game Boy Color, refined for the modern era. Smooth 60fps action combat, a world full of mystery and horror, and top-down adventuring combine in a mix that may remind you of classic titles like Castlevania, The Legend Of Zelda: Link's Awakening, or even Bloodborne."
This adventure puts you into the role of Mina, a mouse-like heroine living in a gothic era. She is a Hollower, a member of an organization devoted to "studying the earth and its latent resources." Her studies have led her to create energy-generating machinery known as Spark Technology which has completely revolutionized the game's world of Tenebrous Isle. The adventure begins when the Isle suddenly goes dark and Mina is summoned by her contact Baron Lionel to discover what happened and restore power to the island.
Since it's a top-down adventure adhering to the Game Boy style, we're going to have to refamiliarize ourselves with old limitations. This includes movement restricted to the directional pad while having A and B as the only other buttons to press. The sprites stay within the restrictive color palette, only having a max of four colors apiece. Despite this, the artwork is sharp and detailed with music by Jake Kaufman.
On top of all this, there are a lot of gameplay mechanics that make the most of these limitations. Mina's trademark ability is being able to temporarily burrow under most surfaces allowing her to move faster and launch herself through the air. She'll have her trusty whip as the first line of defense as well as some sidearms like explosive axes and dynamic daggers. Lastly, Mina will get stronger through the level which is "a first for Yacht Club Games" and you'll be able to customize her behavior with a variety of trinkets.
The Mina: The Holower Kickstarter Campaign
Looking through the details of Mina The Hollower's page, the game is scheduled for release in late 2023. Though Yacht Club Games has proven itself as a productive and successful studio, the team has turned to Kickstarter for a very personal reason.
"Our main reason for launching a Kickstarter this time is to build a brand new universe in the same way we did with our first game, Shovel Knight–with our community involved in creating something special along with us!"
As a testament to that, many of the higher-end campaign rewards revolve around giving backers a chance to create new characters and even direct parts of the project. Unfortunately, many of these rewards are no longer available due to overwhelming interest in the game. Don't worry though, there's still plenty of time to donate and earn some nice rewards such as:
- A digital copy of the game ($20)
- A digital copy of the game and early access to the soundtrack ($30)
- A digital artbook and access to back-exclusive music streams ($50)
- The chance to join in the design process with Yacht Club Games on one of their live streams ($75)
- A Physical Copy of the game along with a digital copy, and previous rewards ($100)
- A physical copy of the Game Artbook ($225)
- Swag like enamel pins, Mina plushies, and your name is hidden somewhere in the game ($250)
- The very Game Design Document itself ($500)
The bigger rewards have already been sold out:
- Work with the studio to create a minor NPC ($750)
- A chance to create an in-game asset like a trinket, NPC, or enemy ($1000)
- The opportunity to design a big game element like a miniboss, sidequest, sidearm, or strong enemy ($3000)
With still an entire month left to go, funding for Mina The Hollower shows no signs of slowing down. Though Yacht Club Games has yet to reveal any sort of stretch goals, their track record with previous campaigns promises not to disappoint with any new ideas they decide to add.