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I knew Hollow Knight [Steam, Official Site] was going to be impressive when going into it, but I didn't realize how impressive it was.

Note: This may contain spoilers, key provided by the developer.

The game was funded by Kickstarter, with a sum of AU$57,138 pulled in from backers. To me, Hollow Knight is another example of how Kickstarter can be done well.

It's an impressive mix of action, smooth platforming and exploration that really does set itself apart from the many we already have. Exploration is essential, since you will need to find certain characters to be able to unlock new feature, gets maps and so on. It can be quite confusing due to this, but once you get some mapping going it does become a little less frustrating. Part of the frustration, is that you can only save your game by sitting on benches, which are spread pretty thin.

It will require you to connect the dots yourself, including a fair bit of back-tracking as you gain more knowledge and skills to be able to access new areas that were previously impossible.

The hand-crafted graphics are incredible! Hollow Knight paints a very dark picture of a fallen kingdom long forgotten, where many explorers have looked around, to never been seen again. It's strange, as the character designs are cute, yet dark and horrible at the same time.

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The music is also rather amazing, for an indie game to come with a score like this is unexpected. It's the kind of extremely well-polished audio I would expect from a big-budget console release. It's memorable, thoughtful and lovely to listen to that perfectly compliments the overall tone of the game itself.

The controls are tight, responsive and it feels glorious on the Steam Controller, which worked flawlessly by the way. No messing around with Big Picture or changing configurations, just pick up and play.

It's not an easy game, with boss battles being intense and sometimes giving the feeling of being impossible. Their varied sizes and attacks will put your reflexes to the test for sure, especially considering how unexpected they are as you never do know what's coming next when you explore. Some of the bosses are hilarious as well, like the flying grub that just slams it's body up and down at you, completely unexpected and absolutely amazing each time I find something new like that.

There's a lot of memorable moments in the game, some of them can be a little depressing due to the setting. One memorable moment for me was near the start, after doing some exploring I came to an area where I could hear crying. Upon further exploration I found what looked like some sort of grub, sat in what appeared to be an egg, the only grub left and it was just sat inside, crying.

The enemies all give off the feeling of depression too, with them walking all hunched over like they have no life left in them.

Absolutely recommend it, amazing. It's a big game too, which I have yet to finish due to the size of it.
3 Likes, Who?
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The comments on this article are closed.
abelthorne 24 April 2017 at 1:18 pm UTC
QuoteOne memorable moment for me was near the start, after doing some exploring I came to an area where I could hear crying. Upon further exploration I found what looked like some sort of grub, sat in what appeared to be an egg, the only grub left and it was just sat inside, crying.
Are you talking about the small green caterpillar-like critters trapped inside glass jars? You have to save them! Break the glass and they'll return happily to their village that you'll encounter not too far from the start.
liamdawe 24 April 2017 at 1:28 pm UTC
@abelthorne, I'm well aware, was trying to not to spoil each detail for people.
abelthorne 24 April 2017 at 1:49 pm UTC
That's not exactly a big spoiler...

Save the grubs!
liamdawe 24 April 2017 at 2:00 pm UTC
abelthorneThat's not exactly a big spoiler...
A spoiler is a spoiler, the point is to not going into thorough detail on things like that to spoil the discovery aspect for people.
Hyperdrive 24 April 2017 at 2:44 pm UTC
So, it's not a rabbit then? I thought it looked like a rabbit.
no_information_here 24 April 2017 at 5:15 pm UTC
Well, I have gotten to 99% completion on this game and can confirm: It is great. I have put in a lot of hours and the game has been perfect on my Nvidia card. To address Liam's comments:

Yes, save points are far between. However, if you exit the game it saves your state. When you restart you begin at the last bench, but you don't lose any story/character progress.

The game is a mix of modern design with a few things that give old-school difficulty. I don't want to say the game is too hard, since most of it is completely fair. However, a few scattered optional areas are brutal (I can't finish the last 1% after 40+ hours). These things do not affect the main story ending(s), so don't worry that the devs are being unfair. They are completely optional. As with many metroidvanias, you can learn the enemy actions and adapt so battles that seemed hard at first get much easier with practice.

The other difficulty is mapping. You have to explore new areas without a map until you find the map-maker in the section. At first I was annoyed, but then I came to appreciate having to really pay attention to where I was going.

The graphics are great, the gameplay is smooth and the music is awesome. I went to BandCamp and bought the soundtrack:

https://christopherlarkin.bandcamp.com/album/hollow-knight-original-soundtrack

Just one warning, steam achievements are still not working on Linux. However, the game itself tracks achievements. I haven't experienced any of the stutter that windows players have mentioned.

The world is intricate and handmade. I won't say it is as massive as Knytt Underground, but it reminded me of that in some ways.
scaine 24 April 2017 at 6:04 pm UTC
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no_information_hereThe game is a mix of modern design with a few things that give old-school difficulty. I don't want to say the game is too hard, since most of it is completely fair. However, a few scattered optional areas are brutal (I can't finish the last 1% after 40+ hours). These things do not affect the main story ending(s), so don't worry that the devs are being unfair. They are completely optional. As with many metroidvanias, you can learn the enemy actions and adapt so battles that seemed hard at first get much easier with practice.
I still get occasional flashbacks to the Mantis Lords fight. And yet... despite taking about 10 attempts, the feeling when you finally do it - that's why you play these games, I think. Just epic.

no_information_hereThe other difficulty is mapping. You have to explore new areas without a map until you find the map-maker in the section. At first I was annoyed, but then I came to appreciate having to really pay attention to where I was going.
Not a fan of this decision. It's just tedious exploring areas without the map - while each area is beautiful and unique, large sections within each area are incredibly same-y, which makes finding your around a complete chore.

That said, it's about the only thing I have an issue with in the game. Absolutely superb.
oldrocker99 24 April 2017 at 7:43 pm UTC
It looks terrific, but I suck at platform games even worse than I suck at FPS games.
no_information_here 24 April 2017 at 11:57 pm UTC
scaineI still get occasional flashbacks to the Mantis Lords fight. And yet... despite taking about 10 attempts, the feeling when you finally do it - that's why you play these games, I think. Just epic.
Haha. Yes, I left that one until I levelled up a bit! The Radiance took me about 50 tries fully specced. The White Palace was intense but previous crazy platforming skills helped a lot. I have put about 4 or 5 evenings into the Trial of Fools and still haven't come close. It is an interesting design to make the really hard stuff completely avoidable.

I have to say, though, going back to play again and everything seems so much easier, even with an under-powered character! That is one of the best things about metroidvania games (if they are well made). It is not just your character that improves, it is the player as well.
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