Hollow Knight is a metroidvania and Souls-Like game from developers Team Cherry. After gaining critical acclaim and cult status on PC back in February 2017 it was announced at this years E3 that it was coming to the Nintendo Switch.
Upon its immediate surprise release at E3 I was hyped to get my hands on this game and dive head first into my first adventure as the adorable Knight. Firstly as I never got to play this game on its initial release I was coming in to the world with a fresh set of eyes and experiencing the game for the first time.
The game is stunning with its Chibi/Tim Burton inspired art design. Every enemy type is unique and beautifully designed and feel perfectly at home in the world of Dirtmouth and its forgotten kingdom Hallownest that dwells below. Every area of the world is unique and gorgeous, in classic metroidvania fashion you will encounter routes you cannot access on your first venture in an area only to comeback later with the ability to once you have levelled your knight up a bit and the the world you have passed through changes as you progress the story, what you do in Hollow Knight affects the world around you.
Hollow Knight tells its story through its environment, bosses and many NPC’s and leaves a lot of the exposition down to the players interpretation of the games narrative. It nails its environmental story telling and its story draws you in, its almost Dark Souls good!
As you kill enemies with your trusty Nail you will fill your Soul Vessel which you can use to replenish your Mask Shards, these act like hit points for your character, once these your knight will die and respawn at the last bench you rested at. If you do die you can go back to where you died and fight a dark version of you to regain your Souls and Geo which is your currency.
There are some pretty epic boss fights in Hollow Knight where you will have to learn your foes moves to emerge victorious. Exploration is the key to progression in Hollow Knight as you will find hidden areas, quests and NPC’s in the many corners of the depths of Hallownest. You can easily complete the game without knowing you’ve missed a huge portion of the lore and story which will lead to numerous playthroughs especially when there is a variety of different endings to unlock.
Combat is so precise and rewarding making timing your attacks integral to surviving the many enemies and bosses you are going to have to vanquish in your journey through the world. This is one hard game and you will die a lot but just like the games that have clearly inspired it you will never feel cheated and once you have defeated that boss after numerous tries you will get that same feeling of accomplishment that From Software has instilled in its games. Bringing this game to the Switch is a great move by Australian developers Team Cherry as once again Nintendo’s hybrid console seems to be the perfect platform to showcase indie talent.
Hollow Knight is a masterclass in storytelling and will have you talking about its story for a long tome after. The question I kept asking myself during my playthrough was “Am I the hero or the villain?” and that question is a testament to how obtuse and subjective this game is if you look past its dialogue and dive into its lore and world.
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- Overall - 9.0/109/10
Hollow Knight is a beautifully crafted game that tests players and engrosses them in wonderful storytelling and mysterious lore. Its tight combat is fair and rewarding and its difficulty not only compliments its gameplay but puts it head and shoulders above most Souls-Like games.