Game Informer

The Coolest Upcoming Zelda-Likes To Keep An Eye On

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If you’ve been indulging in our week-long celebration of all things Legend of Zelda, then there’s a good chance that the series is a cherished part of your life as it has been with so many others. Some of those fans have gone on to become creators themselves, crafting their own worlds and stories that pay homage to Link’s adventures while adding unique twists. 

That’s why, to close out Zelda Week, we want to put a spotlight on upcoming games worth keeping an eye on that take a few pages out of the Zelda playbook.  Some of these games copy the series’ formula to the letter. Others spin it out into wildly different directions. Need something to hold you over until the sequel to Breath of the Wild or the next 2D game? We think these titles will scratch that itch and then some.

Death’s Door

Release Date: July 20
Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC

Death’s Door is developer Acid Nerve’s follow-up to Titan Souls. You control a crow who’s a rookie reaper tasked with collecting a departed soul for your death governing organization (also run by crows). Along the way your target is stolen by a mysterious figure, leading to a frantic chase to get it back. You’ll also encounter entities that have somehow lived long past their expiration date. Death’s Door features Zelda-style hack n’ slash action and exploration as you’ll tear apart foes using a sword, a bow and arrow, as well as magic abilities. Given that Acid Nerve’s previous work on Titan Souls, expect plenty of large-scale boss battles too. Death’s Door has a great look and intriguing premise, so we’re very pleased that it’s only a few days away from launch. 

Hazelnut Bastille

Release Date: TBA
Platforms: Switch, PC

This Kickstarter success story has a fun-to-say name and features gorgeous 16-bit art and animation that evokes games like Secret of Mana. That comparison was intentional because the game does feature music by Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta. Hazelnut Bastille was first unveiled in 2018 by Aloft Studio and centers on a heroine exploring an uncharted continent searching to regain something lost to her. The action looks great, sporting familiar mechanics that look polished up to the nines including spinning sword attack, multi-crossbow shots, and a satisfying-looking dash strike. Unfortunately, we still don’t have a launch window for Hazelnut Bastille, but Aloft Studios did release an 8-bit companion title called Dawnthorn to Kickstarter backers. 

Creature Keeper

Release Date: TBA
Platforms: PC

Want to sprinkle a dash of monster collecting on top of your Zelda? Creature Keeper may be up your alley. While it features the traditional Zelda layout (with some sharp-looking sprites), players can also befriend 50 different creatures that you raise to fight alongside you. On top of that, there’s also a farming, crafting, and cooking system, the third of which you use to feed your bestial buddies to beef up their stats. Creature Keeper was successfully Kickstarted and is currently slated for PC. If you want to see how the game is shaping up, you can download a demo on itch.io.

Garden Story

Release Date: 2021
Platforms: Switch, PC

Arguably the most adorable Zelda-like on this list, Garden Story sees Concord, a young, happy grape, appointed as Guardian of the Grove. His job: rid the world of the Rot, an invasive entity while also rebuilding your home islands using a construction mechanic. While you’ll still explore dungeons and conquer bosses, Garden Story promotes a more laid-back atmosphere focused largely on interacting with fun personalities and gathering resources to rebuild its vibrant world. Plus, how many video games let you play as a cheerful grape of all things?

#BLUD

Release Date: TBA
Platforms: TBA

#BLUD’s quirky, silky smooth art direction bleeds personality and for good reason. The developer, Exit 73 Studios, is a 2D animation company that has produced TV commercials and cartoon pilots for Nickelodeon. The game stars Becky, a popular high school student who also happens to come from a distinguished line of vampire hunters. Sounds familiar, but I don’t think Simon or Richter Belmont had to juggle Field Hockey practice with vampire slaying. #BLUD is a top-down action game where Becky destroys all manner of supernatural threats using her bare hands as well as weapons like a katana. While trailers suggest the game is more action-focused than puzzle-oriented, the presentation and comedic tone has us excited to see the full release.

Tunic

Release Date: 2021
Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC

It’s hard to not immediately think of Zelda while laying eyes on Tunic. Afterall, its adorable fox hero dons a similar green garb as Link, brandishes a sword and shield, and can equip tools such as a hookshot. It looks and plays as you’d expect, but it’s also got a heaping amount of challenge that evokes another popular series: Dark Souls. Enemies are tough as nails, a stamina meter dictates how often players can attack and evade, and dying results in having to re-collect your fallen loot. Tunic looks gorgeous and plays just as well, and we can’t wait to finally dive into the finished adventure later this year.

Outrider Mako

Release Date: TBA
Platforms: PC

Outrider Mako is a fast-paced action game with a unique premise. Protagonist Mako finds herself in the servitude of an otherworldly delivery company, and the only way back to her world is to deliver packages and collect stamps of approval. One of the game’s coolest features is the ability to slime enemies with movement-impeding goo by jumping atop their heads. Hopping around in general adds fluidity to movement you don’t often see in these games, as players can quickly jump from enemy to enemy to shred apart using rapid-fire melee attacks. There’s even mobile turret sequences. The pixel art and Japanese aesthetic only sweetens the package, but developer Asamado Games is clearly taking its time with the game by saying Outrider Mako will release “when it’s done”.

Aethyr

Release Date: TBA
Platform: PC

Aethyr boasts a large open-world ripe for exploration and, most of all, loot collecting. Another Kickstarter joint, this post-apocalyptic game puts you in the boots of a lone adventurer seeking to uncover the secrets behind the cause of humanity’s collapse. Customization is the name of the game as players can specialize in over 20 different weapon skills such as swords and maces while crafting and enchanting a wide arsenal of weaponry. For PC aficionados, developer Labyrinth boasts that Aethyr will be fully moddable as well. While Aethyr is only targeting a PC release for now, Labyrinth hasn’t ruled out console ports in the future and a recent Kickstarter update revealed plans for an upcoming demo.

Crystal Story

Release Date: TBA
Platform: PC

Crystal Story combines Zelda trappings (you even have a fairy companion!) with a narrative presentation reminiscent of EarthBound or Undertale. The vibrant world is filled with puzzles to solve, secrets to uncover, and, of course, monsters to slay. In an interesting twist, Crystal Story is being released episodically. The first installment, Awakening, is available right now on itch.io. The second episode, Dawn of Dusk, is currently slated to release sometime this year.

Last Moon

Release Date: TBA
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, PC

An evil mage has returned and cursed the moon, causing monsters to appear on Earth! It’s up to you, the Lunar Knight, to put a stop to it. Last Moon forgoes pixel art for a more traditional animated aesthetic that looks sharp in photos and even better in motion. Your hack n’ slash combat repertoire is bolstered by special runes that, when equipped, bestow unique abilities. Last Moon’s full day and night cycle is more than just for show, as some areas and secrets will only reveal themselves during certain times of day. Developer Sköll Studio states that Last Moon draws inspiration from A Link to the Past as well as RPG’s like Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana.

Moonshell Island

Release Date: TBA
Platform: PC

Speaking of the moon, here’s Moonshell Island, a very cool-looking game some of you may remember seeing during this year’s Wholesome Direct. When threatening creatures move in on a quiet town, you gather friends and citizens to a safe haven called Crabby’s Cabana Club. Your primary job, besides keeping the creatures at bay, is finding more folks to bring to the club while also helping them achieve their dreams. Moonshell Island is chock full of Zelda-like gameplay and puzzle-solving, but you can upgrade the Club by collecting resources. As the Club grows, more services and quests open up. Moonshell Island’s smile-inducing color palette and atmosphere make it an island getaway we’re itching to take.

What do you think of these upcoming Zelda-likes, and are there any similar games not listed that you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!


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