Hollow Knight started as a Kickstarter in 2016. The aspiring indie group Team Cherry promoted a 2D platformer that takes place in a surreal world of insects. The Kickstarter was very successful raising almost $60k AUD (almost 40k USD). Unfortunately I was never there for the Kickstarter itself. I came across the game on Steam, and I also heard of its popularity floating around the internet. I played the game with my boyfriend, us being overachievers and finding ways to clear 100% with our first run of the game.
Hollow Knight follows the story of the titular character’s journey trying to save the world of Hollownest. Through it you will find bugs filled with their own unique character wandering around the forgotten kingdom. Hollownest itself was a kingdom that fell to ruins thanks to a growing infestation that is controlling the husks of bugs.
The characters of Hollownest are charming in their own ways. Helpful NPCs give off a safe aura as you take a detour through rather challenging areas just to hear them talk. Others can be rude and ungrateful, but their unlikeability makes them memorable. The designs of the characters both friendly and hostile have amazing designs to them that you can always tell them apart. They also help build the fantastic world of Hollownest, as they tell stories of when the kingdom was once full of life.
The map of the world is huge, expanding through fourteen entire regions. The way you travel the map is similar to Metroid where you go through room by room of the catacombs of the world. There are things that can help go through the world faster, such as maps you can purchase from a wandering charter, stagways that act as fast travel points, among other ways of travel. These will prove useful, because the game requires you to backtrack a lot of the time, especially if it’s your first time playing. Honestly, it hardly seems like a chore because of all the ways you can explore. Hidden areas are also prevalent which contains items, collectibles, and other ways through an area.
The game’s difficultly, at least if you’re playing casually, can be challenging. The game does have a fair difficulty curve for the most part. In almost every area, you can gain either a different ability or a spell to gain. What I really like about this game is that abilities are used for every level of the game, mechanics are never dropped or forgotten. Dying for the most part is not a huge issue depending where you are. It’s just an inconvenience because you have to go back to where you died to get the money you lost. If you are playing Steel Soul mode, the game resets when you die. Steel Soul mode is not required, unless if you are crazy enough to go for all the achievements.
I said the difficulty is fair for the most part is because that only applies for the required sections. There are some secret bosses that are harder versions of certain bosses that you face, although they make it fair is because you don’t actually die in the secret boss rooms. There is a section of the game where it’s only required for you to unlock the true ending. This section feels so out of place because nothing else in the game has so much precise platforming over spikes and saws.
Hollow Knight poses a thrilling challenge for those that seek it. The world building and lore are very intriguing. It is a fun and mysterious experience. I do recommend getting the game, just be wary of the challenge.