Aloft Studio

Based in US

Founded 2013

Release date:

Mid-2019 TBD


PC / Mac / Linux/

Targeting Switch


Hazelnut Bastille is a topdown adventure game with metroidvania elements which seeks to continue the great lineage of superior design from the mid 90's- the moment in time when mainstream 2D titles reached arguably their greatest level of refinement, in titles such as Super Metroid and Link to the Past. We seek to emulate this period in most ways, from graphic presentation, to audio production, to general level design philosophy.

Hazelnut Bastille tells the story of a young woman who travels to a foreign shore on the outskirts of her world, in order to seek out the promised gifts of mythological ancients, in hopes of retrieving something which was lost to her. On the way, her story becomes irrevocably intertwined with the lives of those living in this far off land.



Hazelnut Bastille started as a prototyping project in April of 2016, and has been in full time development ever since. The project is being developed in the Unity Engine, in a custom framework built in C#, and features its own custom development tools and level editors which allow us to manage environmental art and level design scripting in one package. A systems prototype was released in July of 2016, followed by serveral public demo iterations, and another demo and promo trailer is expected for March 2018.



-Heavily conscientious level design

-Metroidvania progression

-Classic open-world Overworld and Dungeon format

-16-bit graphic and audio style

-8-voice Chiptune and lofi sample soundtrack

-Classic 8-way and 4-way navigation modes for gameplay

-Enemy design invoking original standards of 16-bit era

-Intense, brutal bosses which require learning and observation

-Highly challenging combat sequences with a high skill ceiling

-Puzzles built around observation, item use, and sequential logic

-Complex trading system to obtain optional items

-Customizable playstyle based on which items player obtains and equips


Video and Gifs



Logos and Icons


Past Articles


March 13, 2018; Ethan Gach; Feature



November 19, 2018; Dominic Tarason; Feature




Ryan Craddock 28, 2018; Ryan Craddock; Feature


October 19, 2018; Ryan Craddock; Feature


March 12, 2018; Jon Cousins; Interview




October 17, 2018; Brian Shea; Feature


March 13, 2018; Brian Shea; Feature



October 24, 2018; Mills Yoshi; Announcement



Silicon Era: 


July 24, 2017; Joel Couture; interview  



June 9, 2017; Joel Couture; Demo Annoucement



December 13, 2016; Joel Couture; Project Introduction



December 8, 2017; Nic Reuben; Demo Reaction





January 14, 2018; Dominic Tarason; "Rundown of the week"





October 23, 2018; Sal Romano; Feature



November 28, 2018; Ryan Pearson; Announcement



January 23, 2018; Eric Meyer; Interview




July 8, 2017; CTRLALTQUIN; Overview



Ninichi's Music Blog:

April 11, 2017; Ninichi; Overview




July 3, 2017; Calum Fraser; Overview



Go Nintendo:

February 12, 2018; Raw Meat Cowboy; Switch speculation



October 2, 2018; Brian Shea; Feature




July 11, 2017; Polish Language Article; Overview




February 12, 2018; Alberto Millan; Spanish Language Overview



One Angry Gamer:

July 1, 2017; Billy D; Demo annoucement




June, 23, 2017; Guillaume Verdin; Overview, French Language



Pawn's Perspective:

May 31, 2017; Rob Kalajian; Overview




July 16, 2017; IamDeus; Polish Language Overview




June 5, 2017; Overview; Spanish Language Overview


July 2017 Community Demo Plays



Aloft Studio

Aloft studio is a small collaborative group founded in 2013, with 2 major product releases currently being developed.


Team actively working on Hazelnut Bastille are:

Dennis Varvaro, age 31, does Art, Design, Writing, and Community media and Marketing for Aloft. 

He is a long-time student of Game Design Theory, and a life-long gamer with high reverence for the great productions of the early 90's.He has been involved in the indie game development and protoyping scene for around 7 years. He is the holder of a Professional-Bachelor's degree in Architecture from the University of Notre Dame with an emphasis on historic and traditional design. He has done work in classically-oriented architecture and landscape architecture firms on the US east coast and in Belgium, and has contributed to historic architectural survey work for the Prince's Foundation. He is also an adept at several commercial game engines and computer modeling suites, and an amateur musician and composer.

Mark Harbaugh, age 31, does Code, Prototyping, Scripting, and Design for Aloft. 

He has been writing code for over 13 years now, and is fluent in C#, C++, Javascript, HTML, PHP, Actionscript, GML, and Clojure, as well as Assembly and Machine language. For almost as long, he has been putting those skills to work prototyping around a dozen of his own game concepts. Mark pursues game development as a way of balancing his interest and proficiency in computer science with his strong creative impulse. He has a great love for the idea of games as a vehicle for storytelling and world building, as well as a careful hand for the minutia of a functional game structure. Mark is a long-time student of the mechanics of classic-era game engines, and their common solutions, and brings this knowledge to bear in invoking the feel of these great titles by learning from their solutions.


Shannon Mason, (AKA "Pongball"), age 35, is joining us as a composer for Hazelnut Bastille.

She is a lifelong composer who has worked on indie and casual mobile games for around 7 years. Shannon writes in a wide range of musical styles, but has found a particular niche in the romanticism of the 16 bit era. Through her close understanding of the writing techniques and character of the time, she has managed to create a sound which is a direct continuation of the lineage of the great 16 bit soundtracks, rather than merely an imitation of them. 


Samples of past work can be found at:  https://soundcloud.com/pongball  



Also working with Aloft, on the Sticks and Starships project, is:

Chris Boltonage 32, does Code, Engine Design, Prototpying, and Scripting for Aloft.


is the holder of a Bachelor's of Computer Science, and is an experienced team member with 10 years of engine deisgn experience. He has extensive knowledge in a multitude of computational theories, and with it, has tackled a variety of independent roles in the software development industry including the implementation, debugging, and maintenance of various systems for core engines, games, and tools. He has a strong past game industry experience working on cross-platform games and was responsible for designing, developing, and deploying core technology for independent developers. He is also an expert at module assembly, game-physics construction, and environmental rendering. He brings to the project over a decade of C++, C#, Java, and Lua-script coding, among many other languages.

Social Media Pages

Follow our development of Hazelnut Bastille on:

Our project site:         http://www.aloftstudios.net/hazelnutbastille

Twitter:                       https://twitter.com/AloftStudio

TIGSource:                  https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=56748.0

IndieDB:                      http://www.indiedb.com/games/hazelnut-bastille


EMAIL us at:       aloftstudios@gmail.com