A good pixelly Zelda-like is always a good way to unwind, and Hazelnut Bastille feels like a very good one indeed. Currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, the game sailed past initial goals a third of the way in, and is now into stretch goal territory. Developers Aloft Studio can probably attribute most of their crowdfunding success to the game's extensive demo, available here. Rather than slice a chunk from the final game, it's a small standalone side-adventure that will take most players at least two or three hours to complete - a nice way to start the weekend. Check out the trailer below.
Surprisingly, the Hazelnut Bastille demo starts you off at the fun part. Rather than have you hunt items for hours to get your basic tool-set, it gives you your spread-shot bow and a bag of bombs, dropping you into the action in media res. Playing with a gamepad, it feels right. It's snappy, responsive, the dash button gives you a fun burst of speed and the combat in the demo steadily ramps up the intensity without being too tough, thanks to a generously padded health bar. It feels like jumping right into the meat at the centre of a Zelda game, full of monsters, dungeons & puzzles.
At this point I've no doubt that Hazelnut Bastille will be finished, even if it's not due for a final release for another two years. Aloft have been working at this for a while now, the Kickstarter contains their full budget plan, and the demo is very polished, self-contained and entertaining. While not quite as creative as, say, Hyper Light Drifter (or Unsighted, which I spotted the other day), it's pure comfort-food gaming. Sometimes you just want a familiar flavour, and the fact that people are still avidly playing A Link To The Past with randomiser mods drives that home.
Hazelnut Bastille's Kickstarter page is here, with $15 getting you a copy of the game when it's finished sometime in October 2020. The demo is here, with Windows, Mac & Linux builds available. You can see a little more of the game on it's (surprisingly charming) official page here, or on Steam here.