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By not using any of the checkpoints and then dying I was able to bring the Pointe Shoes and Umbrella to the upper area above the waterfall and get to the village. Not much to do in the village sadly.

Really fun game! Every inspiration you listed I can see a bit of in the game. I do have a question though - what are the fan drops from enemies for?

Thanks for your comments. The fan drops were supposed to be like in Wonder Boy 3, consumable magic attacks that you can drop on enemies. But I'm going to remove this and replace it with a trinket+slots system.