Hazelnut Bastille for SWITCH and PC is a 2D action-adventure game played from a top-down view. The game borrows from metroidvania titles and it was developed by a small American group known as Aloft Studio.
The creators' aim was to faithfully recreate the most successful mechanics of 2D adventure games that were released in the 90s for Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The developer was inspired mainly by such titles as Super Metroid or The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
The plot revolves around adventures of a young woman who has decided to travel to a distant land located at the world's end. Her goals are to discover the secrets of the Ancients and to retrieve a mysterious item, which was taken from the protagonist. Exploring different corners of the foreign country, the brave adventurer encounters both hordes of dangerous monsters with their lairs inside old ruins, and friendly locals that support her with valuable information or useful items in exchange for favours.
As an action-adventure game enriched with elements of metroidvania, Hazelnut Bastille for SWITCH and PC offers both arcade challenges (in the form of frequent encounters against numerous enemies or powerful bosses) and puzzles – solving those allows the player to go to the next level.
The game world is viewed from above. The protagonist moves in four directions, interacts with objects of the environment (pulls switches for instance), launches different kinds of attacks, but also uses special abilities, which are especially useful while solving puzzles. To illustrate, the player can place an energetic obstacle in front of the protagonist – this object can prevent walls from shifting, redirect laser beams, or even constitute a point where electric energy bursting from damaged devices accumulates and flows through. The energetic obstacle is also useful in combat, as it grants the player a temporary cover protecting from enemy attacks.
The protagonist deals with monsters inhabiting the ruins using a variety of weapons. Above all, she carries Dawnthorn – a mysterious dagger, which is a gift from, soil itself – it can both deprive beings of life and revive them. Using Dawnthorn, the player can launch regular quick attacks, as well as wide cuts and pirouettes, but these latter ones drain the energy. In ranged combat, the protagonist uses a crossbow that can launch three bolts simultaniously, if the player holds the fire button. To defeat the most powerful adversaries and large groups of regular monsters, the player can make use of bombs with timers – however, one must be careful while using these, as they can hit them, too.
The players have to use the weapons a lot in this game, as the locations are full of creatures with different statistics and attack strategies. Armored worms move in a chaotic manner, but at huge speeds. Having moved however, they stop for a moment, which creates room for the player to attack and step back. Creatures resembling jellyfish sluggisly float in mid-air, sending lightnings in all directions from time to time; on the other hand, fiery frogs spit out flames from their mouths. The in-game bosses are far more demanding adversaries – in order to defeat them, the player has to apply an adequate strategy.
On their path, the protagonist finds a lot of items. Some of them are very useful in their present form, others reveal their true value once combined with something else, and yet another kind of items comprises objects which are much more valuable to certain NPCs, so having such items is important when the protagonist needs someone else's help.
Hazelnut Bastille for SWITCH and PC utilizes the popular Unity engine. In order to make the game look as much similar as possible to the classics from SNES, the creators employed a pixel-art style to the visuals, as well as reduced the aspect ratio to 4:3. The game's soundtrack matches the atmosphere of the experience; it was created by Shannon "Pongball" Mason - a composer that specializes in this type of music.