We don’t usually cover crowdfunding campaigns, because there are so many and none can be guaranteed to fulfill their promises or to do so in a set timeframe. The right combination of sheer potential and the developer’s track record can lead us to make an exception, and that’s the case with Yacht Club Games’ Mina the Hollower. Yacht Club Games’ first game, Shovel Knight, was also funded on Kickstarter. Not only did Shovel Knight successfully come to market, but it earned 4.5 stars and our Editors’ Choice award. That was at the game’s launch before the developer added extra campaigns and stretch goals to flesh out the title even more. As it is now, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is one of the best side-scrolling platformers, retro or otherwise, ever made.
What is Mina the Hollower?
Even before we get into the review, let’s make sure we’re set up for success by giving us some context on the developers behind Mina the Hollower. The project was started by the programmer and former employee of Final Fantasy—and later Electronic Games—developer Yoshinori Ono. Before Nobuo Uematsu could even begin to compose the music for Final Fantasy, Ono was hired to work on the new IP. Before long, he became the series’s creative lead, and his work focused on adding new themes and characters.
Stretch goals and extra content
Beyond adding new content, there were also some stretch goals that Ono and co. discussed but never reached. In addition to the usual rewards, backers of $100 or more also received the option to add a second personality to their avatar, a gift box, and a free recipe book. Those who backed $500 or more also received an exclusive promotional guide on the Kickstarter campaign page, followed by a slew of exclusive items, including a suit from the upcoming Star Ocean: Integrity and Destiny game.
Return to level design after the game is finished
For the game’s final stretch goal, backers of $100 or more got an exclusive look at level design after the parts were completed. The guide and gift box were also exclusive to backers at that level.
During their finalizing process, the team also made several changes to the visual style of the game. In particular, they added a section that focused on the player’s toon and their skills. This style of reminder helped to keep the experience fresh and interesting, while still pushing the boundaries of what was possible with the engine.
Another major change from the launch of Shovel Knight was the addition of a time trial mode. This added a new wrinkle to the mix, as it meant that players could test the game’s competitive edge by competing against each other online. Among the participants in the online pecking order was whoever had the edge in the technical department.
Add some puzzle elements
One small addition from the launch of Shovel Knight was a new puzzle mode: one-on-one match against AI-controlled players. This was also test-driven, as the team wanted to make sure the game complemented its target audience, that is, it didn’t just teach them how to play against AI.
Mina the Hollower will come to Steam
Lastly, backers of $100 or more also got a free copy of, the first game in the series. Medieval-themed, homebrewed, and released in 2011, it’s a classic, and still holds up as one of the best platformers of all time. If you’re a fan of either Final Fantasy or Zelda, this is a must-have for any Xbox Live Arcade or Windows 10 account.
As we can see from the list above, Kickstarter is a great place to start when it comes to crowdfunding games. With so many different types of projects, from niche projects to huge projects, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused. The best of times and the worst of times are always different, and crowdfunding can be a great way to head in that direction. With a little effort, you can make a great game and earn a significant amount of money in a very short time. If you’re looking for a fun, challenging, retro platformer, let’s just say, you won’t be disappointed. Mina the Hollower is one of the best games of all time, and it’ll be released on October 2, 2017, on all platforms.