Celeste’s slick movement meets Zelda’s hookshot in Oyster Wars, “intense” platformer by an actual oyster farmer about revenge against Big Oyster

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Sometimes there’s a game that’s just a delight to write about, however you slice it. That’s how I feel about getting to tell you about Oyster Wars, a platforming game that melds the fluid movement of Celeste with the puzzle dungeons and hookshot traversal of Zelda. Oh, and top of that it’s about rebelling against capitalism via oyster farming – and it’s made by a real-life oyster farmer. Let’s get into this package of joys.

Oyster Wars doesn’t just wear that Celeste comparison as a handy badge. Its movement mechanics are straight-up built on top of some of Celeste’s actual player code, released by co-developer Noel Berry under the open-source MIT License.

Oyster Wars studio Technologies Bauldy – aka solo dev Joe Nicholson – have adapted that tight movement by swapping out Celeste’s dash for a Zelda-like hookshot, which the player can use to zip around levels by attaching to walls, nab items from afar and fend off enemies.

Those levels are described as also taking inspiration from Zelda, offering ‘puzzle-box’ environments in which you’ll need to search for keys, change water levels, jump on conveyor belts and use your map to progress. (There’ll also be what Nicholson boldly claims are “The best fishing minigames of all time”.) The levels themselves are non-linear, letting you discover and tackle them in pretty much any order from the game’s overworld – which itself will evolve over the course of the game.

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To join with what Nicholson calls “intense” platforming challenges, demanding both precision and mastery of the levels’ systemic design, is what sounds like a surprisingly intense backdrop for the jumping and grappling.

The player is Wade, an oyster farmer who sets out on a mission for revenge against the CEO of Man’s End Oyster Company, after Big Oyster left his local community and island home in ruins by draining its resources and filling it with pollution. The tale of economic struggle resulting from the exploitation of capitalism and commercialism is based on Nicholson’s own time as an oyster farmer in British Columbia, Canada.

Honestly, I love all of what I’m seeing here. Nicholson plans to crowdfund Oyster Wars’ release with a Kickstarter campaign launching on May 2nd, with a release via Steam and Itch.io due this autumn.

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