Hollow Knight, released in 2017, is one of the few modern Metroidvania games. The game was a success, and was universally appraised, and with good reasons. What is Hollow Knight? Is it worth it. Should you play a Metroidvania game? Find out below.
This review will be split into a Storyline, Gameplay, Visuals, and finally, Personal Thoughts sections. Without further ado:
Table of Contents
The story goes very deep. Now, I usually spoil the story in my reviews, but I really think this is a game where you should enjoy finding out about the lore through the game itself.
The main premise is that you control a nameless character (the Knight) as you explore the (tremendous) kingdom of Hallownest. As you explore, you find out that the kingdom is mostly in shambles.
I will also say that this game has multiple endings.
Finally, I’ll have to say that the story in this game, albeit complicated at start, is very deep and exciting, and something you should definitely spend time on, discovering the history of the kingdom and the role your character plays.
The game is pretty simplistic in its gameplay, and to be honest, that’s one of its merits. It shouldn’t take you long to figure out, and most controls are the classic controls for any action platformer.
Your main moves are right and left. You can also jump. Finally, you can strike with your weapon called “the Nail”. It functions as a sword though.
You can swing to your direction, but you can also try to swing upwards to catch flying enemies. You can also swing downwards when on the air and try to hit someone below, which causes you to bounce.
While you kill enemies, you will collect money, called “Geo”.
One unique thing is the Soul Meter. When you hit enemies, your Soul Meter fills. You can use Soul to heal yourself, or to cast some spells you will discover as you play.
Speaking of which, you will unlock quite a few moves as you play, which will significantly increase your ability to move and attack.
Another function you should know are the charms. Charms are pins that give you a permanent effect while equipped. Each charm costs an amount of notches to use and you start with 3. You can increase that number while playing.
Now about the game itself. Most of the game is exploring honestly.
You start with the Forgotten Crossroads, and from there, it pretty much snowballs. You will have a lot of trouble navigating at start.
The game has many areas, and each area has its own map. To get the map you have to find the Cartographer, and buy a map. Then, you can explore and fill the map. However, in order for new areas to be noted down on your map, you must rest on one of the many benches you will find.
Benches also serve as save points for when you die. They also heal you for full.
As you explore, you will find many things. Shops, transport… “vehicles”, items, etc.
If you die, your soul remains where you died, and you have to return to kill it to get back your Geo. If you die twice without getting your soul, you lose all your Geo.
Also, while you haven’t taken your soul back, your Soul Meter is broken, losing 1/3 of its capacity until you restore it.
While you explore, you will find bosses. Despite bosses being simple (only having 2-5 simple patterns of attacks), man can they be frustrating. Honestly, it might surprise you considering how simple this game is.
The game also adheres to the completionist types as there are many, many things to find and do, including lots of secrets.
Also, being a Metroidvania game, there will be quite a bit of backtracking. Your new abilities will surely come in handy to reach places you couldn’t before, even if you passed them while exploring.
A fun thing about this game is the progression. There really is no set path (most of the time) to follow, and you can do many things that others would have done towards the end.
That’s why I highly recommend you play and finish the game all on your own for the first time before you try to see any guide about anything.
The visuals are stunning. Hollow Knight is one of those games you will enjoy spending hours on, and the Visuals help a lot! There is a dark, melancholic theme all around, but the enemies and especially the areas are quite beautiful to look at.
The theme will probably give you more of a “Souls-like” feeling, but the game is far from it. Besides, many areas are vibrant and full of life.
Even the animations are absolutely fluid while remaining beautiful.
Even if you don’t enjoy darker themes in your games, I still recommend this to anyone who likes platformers, action games, metroidvania games, or even anyone wanting to try them.
It might seem like Hollow Knight doesn’t have any negatives, and it truly is one of these games where you can hardly find anything objectively negative. At least negative enough to ruin your experience.
As I mentioned, the “worst” thing it has is its difficulty which gets infuriating at times. But that’s part of the game, and I’m sure you’ll be overjoyed with each challenge you overcome.
Truth is, the game will most probably absorb you into its world, and keep you there with all the lore you will discover and all the exploration you will do.
General Rating: 9
Have you played Hollow Knight? Have you enjoyed it? Are you excited for its sequel? Leave a comment below.
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