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Austin Wood

Say no more: this beautiful Metroidvania looks like a clever mix of Hollow Knight, Zelda, and one of 2013's best games

The folks at Mythwalk Studios are speaking my language. The studio's upcoming Metroidvania, Dewborne Dawn, is pitched on Kickstarter as a 2D search-action adventure inspired by Hollow Knight, Sekiro, the Legend of Zelda, and perhaps most importantly, Dust: An Elysian Tail, one of the best games of 2013. It looks and sounds fantastic, and with an RPG-like companion system thrown in too, it officially has my attention. 

You play as Dew, a cute little blue creature wielding a sword with the power to quell the curse infecting the world of Ephemore. Dust: An Elysian Tail's influence is clear in the way Dew moves and how they, as well as the rest of the largely bestial cast, look and behave. The platforming sections and boss fights in the trailer are giving off some big Hollow Knight vibes, too, but with a more involved combo system rife with juggles and parries. 

The game's other points of reference seem to manifest in more specific ways. I'm assuming the Sekiro nod relates to Dewborne Dawn's combat system, which features traditional health bars as well as stamina bars that you can whittle down to perform one-hit critical attacks. This being "a love letter to the adventures we grew up with," Zelda's influence may be the most formative, and I'm not just talking about the hookshot. 

"The heart of any good Metroidvania is finding your own path forward, instead of the game itself directing the roads you take," the devs say, channeling the wanderlust at the heart of Zelda. "It's finding that one cave behind a breakable wall, leading to a powerful upgrade. It's looking at the undiscovered parts of your map and theorizing what could possibly be located there. It's finding that one subtle doorway that opens up to a massive new region. We never want there to be a singular path or method to experiencing progression."

There's a gradient of non-linearity even within Metroidvanias, explicitly known for branching paths, and it sounds like Dewborne Dawn leans more open-ended. I'm also intrigued by what could be its killer app and most unique feature: a summoning system for support characters. You can recruit other party members, develop a connection with them, and then call on them in combat for unique benefits and combination attacks. I love this kind of weaponized characterization party dynamic in JRPGs, and it sounds like a fascinating addition to the flow of a Metroidvania. 

Dewborne Dawn is a sumptuous mix of ideas, and the presentation is just lovely. It's close to its Kickstarter goal at the time of writing, and the lead devs, a husband-and-wife duo, say "we are committed to bringing this to completion, it's just a matter of when that day actually comes." It doesn't sound like a funded-or-bust scenario given that it's already been three years since the game's ideation phase, but the outcome of the Kickstarter – which estimates a late 2025 release – will doubtlessly affect the development timeline. Platforms seem undecided, though Switch is mentioned in the rewards. 

Looking at 2024, this Soulslike Metroidvania has it all: Japanese horror, playable warrior cats, and gorgeous stop-motion animations.

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