We’ve had hundreds of indie games attempt to drum up support by going to crowdfunding when they couldn’t find a traditional publisher to fund their projects. Some of these turn out great, others not so great, and an unfortunately large amount don’t turn out at all. The reason for the explosion of games turning to platforms like Kickstarter in the first place can be traced back to one of the most successful games to ever utilize the platform: Shovel Knight.
After supporting the 8-bit throwback to games like Mega Man, Ninja Gaiden, and Ducktales, for nearly a decade, along with several spinoff games, Yacht Club Games finally announced its second game titled Mina the Hollower. While Shovel Knight was a homage to 8-bit, NES platformers, Mina the Hollower looks to capture the essence of classic GameBoy Color titles. Just like their first game, Yacht Club is utilizing Kickstarter to get this project going, and get the community involved in the development. Before you decide if you want to help fund this project, here’s everything we know about Mina the Hollower.
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According to the Kickstarter page for Mina the Hollower, the target release window for the cute indie title is set quite a way off in December 2023. However, that could easily just be a placeholder date with Yacht Club not actually intending to release the game then. What it does tell us is that we shouldn’t expect this game any time soon. Even the developers themselves admit that it will be a long wait stating, “The biggest risk is that Mina the Hollower may take longer than anticipated. We always prioritize quality, even if that means delaying a project a little until it’s ready to meet the world.”
Since the game does use Kickstarter, we can at least expect a fairly regular schedule of updates on the game’s development and progress towards an eventual release date.
Yacht Club has stated that it doesn’t have a confirmed list of platforms Mina the Hollower will be available on, possibly due to any future changes in the market between now and release. The only ones we know for sure are Mac and Linux since they were part of the stretch goals for the project that has already been passed. The original Shovel Knight came to just about everything, even the WiiU, so odds are that, at one point or another, Mina the Hollower should come to at least the major systems like PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, if not more. However, until official word is given, take that as simply highly likely speculation at this point.
While the trailer itself is almost completely focused on gameplay, the Kickstarter page has tons of additional info on the world, characters, and the story of Mina the Hollower. The titular Mina is a little mouse called a Hollower, an inventor who fights with her whip. After getting a letter from a customer and ruler of her home island named Baron Lionel, informing her that her most important invention, Spark Generators, have begun failing and that it is likely due to sabotage.
This sets Mina off on her adventure across Tenebrous Isle to figure out who — or what — is responsible.
Mina is part of an ancient group called the Hollowers who dedicate their lives to science and energy but also have the special Hollowing ability to dig and travel underground. Mina is the youngest, but also most promising Hollower. She’s known throughout the land for her Spark technology that powers the Spark Generators used by everyone. She wields the whip, Nightstar, along with other tools and weapons.
Thorne is a bat who was once Lionel’s top bodyguard before betraying him and disappearing. He now leads a group called the Shock Troopers who have begun attacking while the generators are down.
This game is very much Castlevania-inspired. The team describes it as a “Gothic Horror” and expresses that it wants to put a “modern spin on a classic source.” Outside of games, the developers list many famous literary works as inspiration for Mina the Hollower, including “Dracula, Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – and countless others.”
As a GameBoy Color inspired game, Mina the Hollower will almost exclusively be played with just a D-pad and two buttons: One used to attack and the other burrow. Normal attacks utilize your whip in whatever direction Mina is facing, but has that familiar delay Castlevania fans know all too well. There will also be a host of sidearms you can use to attack. Only one can be held at a time, but serve different purposes. The Volt Hatchet, for example, can hit multiple foes at once with its AOE attack, while the Gyro Dagger acts like a boomerang that you can whip in the air to knock it back into enemies multiple times.
The style looks very much like Link’s Awakening, only with the whipping and sub-weapon system of the classic 2D Castlevania games. While the trailer was very disjointed, we expect there to be plenty of 2D action, dungeons, bosses, and probably some light puzzle solving as well.
Burrowing is the main mechanic introduced in Mina the Hollower. Digging underground lets you avoid obstacles and enemies for traversal, as well as move much faster than above ground. It can also be used as a dodge of sorts, but since you can only stay underground for a short amount of time, you need to time it well.
Trinkets will be familiar to fans of Shovel Knight. These bits of gear offer different buffs to your moves depending on which you’ve found and equipped. Based on the trailer, it looks like only five out of 60 can be equipped at once. Some show off was the Ferry Wisp, letting you float for a short time, and a spider that shoots webs you can use as platforms to cross gaps.
Mina the Hollower will also have some light RPG mechanics, including leveling up and upgrading stats. By defeating enemies and collecting Bones, or collecting them from treasure chests, Mina will level up and can upgrade her stats, such as attack, defense, sidearms, and magic. In a small nod to souls-likes, Bones are both your XP and currency, so you will need to carefully think about how you want to spend them.
Mina the Hollower doesn’t specify being singleplayer or multiplayer right now, though it appears to be a solo experience. That said, we all thought that about Shovel Knight too, only to later get multiplayer modes for that. Based on Yacht Club’s history of adding in way more content and modes than anyone could reasonably expect, we can only say that, at launch, we don’t think there will be a multiplayer component for this game.
Again, this is very hard to predict. Based on the visible stretch goals, there doesn’t look like any DLC is coming, but there are still two unknown goals. Again looking back at Shovel Knight, we wouldn’t be surprised to get new campaigns, perhaps playing as new characters, down the line. Still, for now at least, we’re just looking at the base game. If future DLC is announced, it wouldn’t be out of character for it to be free to any backers of the game, based on how Yacht Club operated in the past.
The only way to pre-order Mina the Hollower is to back the game on Kickstarter while you can! You will need to pledge at the $20 level or higher to get a digital copy of the game on any platform you choose, but if you want the game physically you will need to shell out $100 or more. You can check out all the other rewards on the page to decide which one is most appealing. Once the campaign ends, we’ll detail here any future ways you can pre-order.
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