Team Cherry’s “Hollow Knight” quickly earned itself the reputation of “the “Dark Souls” of platformers” after its initial release in February 2017. Despite being released five years ago, the indie game still has a passionate fan base surrounding it.
“Hollow Knight” is available for Windows, Linux and Mac computers, Playstation 4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch. It retails for just $15 on all platforms.
In “Hollow Knight,” you play as the Knight, a nameless bug warrior, adventuring through the underground kingdom of Hallownest. According to the Steam page for the game, you must “explore twisting caverns, battle tainted creatures and befriend bizarre bugs.”
When the game initially launched, it already had an extensive story to offer, but the three-person team behind “Hollow Knight” later added four free content packs to the game: “Hidden Dreams,” “The Grimm Troupe,” “Lifeblood” and “Godmaster.”
“Hollow Knight” didn’t gain the reputation of “the “Dark Souls” of platformers” for no reason – the game is challenging, mixing intricate combat mechanics with traditional platforming and a limited amount of health.
“Hollow Knight” encourages players to manage their resources carefully. With every successful hit on an enemy, players will earn a small amount of soul; once you have enough soul, you can use it to cast spells or heal one health point.
As the player progresses through the game, they will find different charms. Each charm will provide a different skill, boost a certain attack, or assist the player in some other way. The charms will cost a certain amount of charm notches to equip. Players can get up to 11 charm notches to mix and match their charms to help them progress through the game.
While there are difficult boss fights and infuriating platforming puzzles, “Hollow Knight” is an overall delightful experience. Beating a boss you were stuck on, or getting past a complicated jumping puzzle eliminates the frustration and instead instills a sense of self-confidence. It is extremely rewarding to finally get past the areas you were stuck on.
Even though “Hollow Knight” has challenging aspects, it rarely feels impossible to progress. Most of the more complex challenges are not necessary to beat the game, or have an easier way to help the player get past them, as long as you look around a little bit.
For more competitive players, or players who are up for a challenge, there are a variety of additional challenges to take on within the game. After completing the game for the first time, players will unlock Steel Soul mode. When playing in Steel Soul mode, players only have one chance on everything; if you die, you won’t respawn and will have to completely restart the game.
“Hollow Knight” has also become one of the more popular games for speedrunners. There are a variety of different challenges on the internet, where players must beat a certain percentage of the game as fast as possible.
One of the aspects that made “Hollow Knight” so beloved is its stunning visual style. Contrary to the popular hyper-realistic styles seen in most AAA titles, “Hollow Knight” has a gorgeous 2D hand-drawn art style, complete with frame-by-frame animation.
Each area of Hallownest is unique from one another, both in visuals and gameplay. None of the bosses ever feel repetitive. Every area, enemy, boss and NPC looks amazing. Despite being a world full of bugs, the game never feels gross, even for someone typically grossed out by bugs.
“Hollow Knight” is filled with memorable bosses and NPCs, whether it is for the design, the boss fight mechanics or the characters’ personalities.
As the player progresses through Hallownest and discovers more about the history of Hallownest, they are accompanied by a “haunting, intimate score,” composed by Christopher Larkin, according to the game’s steam page. “The score echoes the majesty and sadness of a civilisation brought to ruin.”
While there is mostly somber music as you progress through Hallownest, the score takes a turn with more intense music during boss fights.
“Hollow Knight” has an outstanding story, despite it never being at the forefront of the game. Team Cherry took a unique approach to storytelling, staying true to the “show, don’t tell” advice many people are familiar with. In order to fully understand the story and unlock all of the game’s endings, players need to pay close attention to everything as they progress.
“Hollow Knight” is a masterpiece from start to finish and absolutely worth picking up a copy, as long as you’re up to the challenge.