What if Castlevania was a Game Boy Zelda game?
That’s a simple enough idea, and the end result, Mina the Hollower, is one that might be a great answer to that question. Yacht Club Games’ upcoming project takes the nostalgic charm that the developers are known for and adheres it to a more exploration adventure concept. It’s deep in development, but the PAX East 2023 demo is a great, full feeling experience already.
The 15-minute timed Mina demo is a series of small, Zelda-style dungeons that require both action and puzzle-solving. The Castlevania hook focuses on ideas like breakable candelabras, collections of weapons and sub-weapons, and the trading in and out of items. I didn’t find it in my demo playthrough, but there’s even a hookshot that we can maneuver around with or use as a weapon.
The demo doesn’t explain anything to get us started — we just have to kind of learn everything on our own as we move forward. Not only can Mina attack, but by default she can burrow under the ground to get under obstacles, around enemies and help solve some of the puzzles. For example, in one area we find a missing hand and realize we have to go throw it on the statue from whence it came to open a path to the next.
It’s this kind of classic play that works so well in Mina and feels so familiar, even though it’s a brand new game. While the kickstarter listed the release date as 2023, we’re told it’s likely not going to hit until later. Either way, it’s something that we’ll definitely have our eyes (and hands) on.
The game earned a Team Choice Award as one of SideQuesting’s favorite, must-see projects of PAX East 2023.