Hollow Knight is my favourite video game. I know that favourite games, favourite anything, will change over time. But since I first watched the intro cutscene and jumped around the rocky platforms of King’s Pass, I have not stopped loving this game. In my opinion, Hollow Knight is brilliant beyond any number of words you’d care to read.
Despite this, I am The Never Yak, and here is my Nindie Spotlight on an absolute masterpiece of a metroidvania: Hollow Knight.
Let’s start with some Information, Hollow Knight was released for Nintendo Switch in February 2017 and can also be played on PC, PS4, and Xbox. It was a successful Kickstarter campaign, reaching 163% funding. It now has four downloadable content packs and a new game, Hollow Knight: Silksong, on the horizon.
In the game, you take control of a nameless and silent protagonist, who some refer to as Ghost or The Knight. Your only known task at the start of the adventure is to explore the underground kingdom of Hallownest, where the game is set, and gain cool new abilities. You don’t really know anything about this little guy, apart from that you can wield a tiny sword, called a nail, run, jump, and heal, and that bugs will try and take you out.
I don’t want to go too deep into the story, but I do have to give you this piece of advice. Hollow Knight has an objective, it has bosses and side quests and things to do next, but they’re not always clear.
Hollow Knight is not a straightforward game, and its lore is hidden through drawings on the walls and journal entries about the enemies. Don’t be put off just because you don’t know where to go next. It’s a game of exploration!
There are so many different areas to discover, each with their own unique colour scheme, soundtrack, enemies, and fragments of lore to add to the story. Although they’re all so packed with life and movement, there’s a very melancholy feel about mindless bugs wandering through these dark empty passages. All the bosses and enemies feel a bit like zombies, which is absolutely not a criticism, by the way, as it adds so much to the mood of the game.
Some lucky inhabits of Hollowest are a little different, making up the cast of NPCs who can help you out on your journey. Some of them sell things, and all of them have little bits of gibberish voice acting. Cornifer the cartographer will sell you maps, while his wife Isadela waits up in Dirtmouth, the last remaining village, to sell you compasses and markers. Quirell will pop up all over Hallownest, providing interesting pieces of information and even lending a hand with a boss fight. Although they’re friendly enough, they all long for the time when this world was different, providing even more detail about what happened to this once great kingdom.
This game has an abundance of unique ideas and mechanics. Charms can help with your strength and ability to use spells, but only a certain number can be equipped at once. Therefore you need to learn which combos work for exploration and which work for combat.
Different courses of action can be taken when faced with a problem, unlocking new achievements. Once you purchase a map of the area it will fill in as you explore, but they will only update permanently when you save your game at a bench. Dying even makes sense with the story! I mean who doesn’t love a game where dying makes sense?
So there it is, most of the reasons I love Hollow Knight. It’s got excellent world building, amazing character design, and fantastic gameplay. You get to build charm combos, go on painfully hard side quests, beat up unique bosses, and end with one of the most dramatic cutscenes I’ve ever watched.
You can even fight an extra final boss if you’ve got the right stuff. There are secrets and collectables everywhere: behind walls, under the floor, or even in massive worm corpses. All of this tied together with a phenomenal soundtrack by Christopher Larkin and loads of subtle animation details. Characters turn to look at you as you walk by, dust clouds spring up when you jump, and little tufts of grass even move as you pass.
Basically, Hollow Knight is really good, and you should all go play it.
There is your Nindie Spotlight on Hollow Knight. Join us next time for another brief look into the Nintendo Switch’s best Nindie titles. What are some of your favorite indie games? Let us know in the comments below! Thank you for visiting Nintendo Link.