Hollow Knight

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Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight - GOG - Title Card - 1st Version.jpg

Good Old Games - World - Title card - 1st version.

Developer Team Cherry
Publisher Team Cherry
Published 2017-02-24
Platforms Linux, Macintosh, Switch, Windows
Genres Adventure, Beat 'em up, Exploration, Metroidvania, Platformer
Themes Action, Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic
Distribution Commercial

Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania video game developed and published by Team Cherry for Windows on 2017-02-24. It was programmed in C# and Unity.

In the game's story, an ancient underground city of insects lies in ruins after an infection has killed off most of the population. You play as a knight insect who explores the city and slowly uncovers the secrets of the infection and, hopefully, a way to permanently stop it.

Personal

Own?Yes. On Steam.
Won?Yes. Standard ending. 100% completion. 38/63 achievements.
Finished2026-06-05.

I remember seeing rave reviews about this game and, since Metroidvanias are one of my favorite genres, I was eager to try it out. When it was on sale, I bought it and started playing it and really enjoyed it.

Review

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8 8 10 9 9

Best Version: Windows

Good

  • The controls feel tight and responsive. It's clear a lot of time was spent on them.
  • The art is phenomenal. Each of the various regions have their own palettes, but there is a cohesive style across the entire game. Different areas evoke feelings like desolation, verdancy, and ancientness.
  • The ambient music by Christopher Larkin is very fitting and emotion-inducing.
  • Each section has its own feel with unique monsters and game mechanics.
  • The game has some tense moments, like when you are low on health in a new area, and not sure if you're going to trigger a boss battle.
  • I found the game to be quite challenging, but fair. The bosses are harder than a lot of Metroidvanias, and require you to learn their pattern to defeat them. Brute force will almost always get you killed.
  • The hit point mechanic, where you can only take a few hits, but can heal by using stored energy (if you can find a safe place) was a great way to force the player to be more careful compared to most games which just give you a large energy pool.
  • I like how the game handles death. You lose your money, but it can be reclaimed if you return and defeat your lost soul. However, if you die again before retrieving it, it is lost permanently. And, if it's in a particularly dangerous area, where you don't want to risk losing it, you can spend an item to recover it safely.
  • The various NPCs you meet through the game have a lot of character and I love the voice acting for their artificial language.
  • There is a lot of hidden content to the game that you may not see in your first play-through, but might discover in subsequent play-throughs.
  • I like how you can find a map icon for many of the otherwise hidden objects in the game. They don't appear until later in the game, but they make it more realistic to find the secrets of the game without having to resort to a walkthrough.
  • I love rescuing the grubs. They're so cute.
  • I like how the game's menu background changes depending on where you last saved.

Bad

  • I found the game map to be too large. Trying to navigate from one section to another often required a fairly long commute, and there just weren't enough fast travel locations. I would often debate if I cared enough about an item to go all the back for it.
  • The game goes on a bit too long. While there is a huge amount of content to play, I still sunk over 40 hours into it (although I later discovered I did a large amount of optional content). Near the end, I was becoming so bored that I would just start it up to grind through yet another boss, then be so exhausted after beating them, that I would put the game back down for a a couple days.
  • I got so many of the charms so late in the game, they were pretty useless to me. And, since some are objectively better than others, a lot of them sat in my inventory never to be unused.
  • Although the game has a huge amount of lore behind it, only a small percentage is actually revealed in the game. You're able to glean pieces of the ruined society from various conversations, but, for most of the game, I felt like I was in the dark.
  • My only gripe about the controls is the downward attack when trying to bounce off monsters. My swing was frequently too late despite appearing to be on time, and it looks like you're able to hit monsters before your nail would hit them.
  • When you're first trying to get a feel of the game it requires a lot of grinding for money. This wouldn't be so bad if money didn't explode in unpredictable ways when you kill monsters, where it often falls into pits out of your reach. Getting the money magnet charm is a must.
  • When I first saw so many map tokens for sale, I figured it was overkill, but, it didn't take me long before I ran out. Having such a large number of loose ends in the map at all times is rather annoying because you end up back-tracking all over the place, and, because the tokens only convey color, not useful information, it's easy to forget the reason for why I put the token there in the first place. I would prefer a map where you could add any amount of notes so I wouldn't have to keep spending a bunch of time returning to a token only to discover I still don't have the power-up I needed to bypass it.
  • Some of the late game bosses are ridiculously difficult. While many of them are optional, some of them are mandatory. I found several to be a lot more difficult than the final boss. Also, when I first played the game, I assumed I needed to defeat most of the side quests before taking on the final boss. This resulted in me being overpowered for him and taking him out without much difficulty.
  • Since losing money upon death is part of the game mechanic, dealing with money becomes annoying. The only bank in the game is a pain to reach, and selling the valuable artifacts is a dull process, it just becomes a chore to manage. I would have preferred eliminating the money loss mechanic.
  • Destroying all the random objects in the background seemed fun at first, but, because you don't get anything from it, it just became a bit annoying later on.

Ugly

  • The White Palace is too long and difficult. It stopped being enjoyable early on and just became extremely frustrating after that.

Media

Title Cards

Maps

Videos

Review - Animation.
Longplay - PlayStation 4.
Longplay - Switch.

Representation

Strong female character?PassThe hornet is a powerful adversary who also helps you multiple times.
Bechdel test?FailWomen never speak to each other.
Strong person of color character?FailThere are no humans.
Queer character?PassIt is strongly implied that the Nailsmith and Sheo are gay.

Links

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