Travel through the mazes and discover the secrets of a fallen kingdom as a mysterious knight.
An artistically immersive experience
Team Cherry‘s goal in creating Hollow Knight was to create a world where players could fully immerse themselves in exploration. This desire is reflected in the design choices of the game: the levels are infinite, with secrets and rewards hidden in all corners.
Christopher Larkin’s soundtrack and Ari Gibson’s designs help create an atmosphere that the player will never want to leave. A riot of details combine to give each section of the map a distinct sense of location.
Thanks to its frame, Hallownest becomes a living realm. You can sense the ancient history of this world by looking at the ruined structures or the huge, barred gates. Nothing seems to have been placed at random.
An innovative and fascinating metroidvania
Hollow Knight, as a good metroidvania, takes up and amplifies the mechanism inaugurated in 1994 by Super Metroid.
Super Metroid has some moments that give the player a sense of depth. How does it happen? Including aspects that don’t change the game’s experience but prompt the player to ponder about the world he’s exploring.
The history of Hollow Knight is buried under layers of dialogues with NPCs, descriptions of objects, inscriptions on marble slabs and much more. It is only through a meticulous exploration that it is possible to adapt the different parts of the underlying puzzle to this world now dominated by shadows and dust.
There is very little information regarding what is going on in the game.
The player has the burden and honor of discovering the causes and nature of the various monumental events that occurred at Hallownest. The story of Hallownest is tragic, full of fallen heroes and bad decisions. However, there are also beautiful, calm, and hopeful moments.
A challenging but rewarding adventure
Hollow Knight proves to be a difficult and punishing game against irresponsibility. In fact, there are few checkpoints, and every death means returning to the spot where you died, confronting your soul, and recovering the money (known as “Geo”) which would otherwise be lost forever.
Throughout the game, the protagonist will gradually gain in strength and earn new skills. That will allow him to progress to previously inaccessible areas.
The universe of Hollow Knight transforms more dramatically as you progress. Some areas alter, and shortcuts that lead you back to prior portions open. This gives the player the impression that his choices in Hallownest have actual consequences.
The game heavily rewards the player’s patience and skill, so destroying foes and avoiding obstacles becomes more a question of fine timing and learning patterns of action than amassing and utilizing the many power-ups earned along the way.
While timing is important, the battle itself is forgiving. Hitting adversaries rewards you with “soul,” which you can use to heal yourself at any time as long as you don’t get hit.
There are a variety of less difficult adversaries scattered throughout each level, allowing you to recover soul and collect Geo in relative safety. In any case, there are a lot of difficult opponents, thus dying far away from a checkpoint is a deep concern.
The variety of adversaries is astounding, and even those with similar characteristics differ significantly depending on where they are positioned on the map.
The attack method can be customized thanks to a system of amulets, which are special artifacts that grant varied advantages and powers. The different trials allow the player to fine-tune his skill and strategy, showing him when it is safe to attack, heal, and move, and pushing him to improve for each defeat.
Exploration and discovery
A unique feature of Hollow Knight is that a huge portion of the content is completely optional. Bosses, deeper storylines, and entire areas of the map can all be hidden, giving the player a sense of exploring freedom.
This may cause the player to ponder which road is the “correct” one to take, but the game’s charm comes in the fact that there is rarely a right or wrong answer.
In Hollow Knight, you must explore to have a better understanding of what you’re doing and to weigh the various options available to you.
It’s interesting how some critical scenes in the plot correspond to some of the game’s best challenges. While each area has its own theme and music, the melodies and sound characteristics change as you move from one place to the next during boss bouts. Actually, music serves as a guide to the mood and intensity of a scene.
Hollow Knight, for example, becomes a platformer with minimal combat when you visit one of the final secret areas. The music in this case mostly serves to enhance the setting and images.
Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania with a pool of content as deep as the convoluted routes that the player must traverse. The world of Hallownest is rich and captivating, cloaked in a fog of the past that gradually dissipates against a gorgeous setting.
Given the great density of secrets to discover and opponents to encounter, it’s worth losing yourself in the maze of this fantastic game with commendable artistic value.