amazon Hollow Knight reviews
At the end of 2014, the independent game company Team Cherry from Australia introduced to the public Hollow Knight – a game described as “a 2D horizontal screen action-adventure game with hand-drawn graphics…” Do you feel familiar? Because that’s also what the writer wonders, what is Hollow Knight different from dozens of Metroidvania games on Steam? How is it different from Salt & Sanctuary, Axiom Verge, Ori, and The Blind Forest or Rogue Legacy?
Hollow Knight is probably one of the best games of this year, but not because it does something extremely creative compared to the games of the same genre, but all that the game is. All shows are carefully designed, brilliantly intelligent.
The once prosperous kingdom of Hallownest now exists only in the hollows and ruins beneath the village of Dirtmouth. Strange creatures began to nest in every nook and cranny, smearing the void with their existence. From the ashes sprang a small figure speechless but brave and daring enough to dig into the depths of Hallownest and reverse the curse that was holding it back.
The adventure in Hollow Knight is as vague and hopeless as the premise of its main story. Still, through each message and conversation, it just keeps making us want to go on, go further, go to that not even the dark can hold us back. “Cut a worm if it’s necessary to pave the way to your goal.” However, the journey in Hollow Knight is full of dangers and obstacles; our little ghost is not alone. Adversaries become powerful allies, companions daring for their purposes, the phony Knight is always in trouble but proud of his great ego. Of course, there is no shortage of deceitful, crafty people who show their true form once their goals are satisfied.
Hollow Knight doesn’t hesitate to make any stone heart falter, and even when it shows a hint of emotion or humor in its tone, it quickly quells laughter with pitiful cruelty that no one could foresee. Fortunately, not all of the stories that exist in Hollow Knight play with the player’s emotions (if you’re clever and do or don’t fulfill a specific request). But the discord when you think you’re doing the right thing is completely broken, or some death comes so fast that you can’t do anything to change it. What a cruel joke takes place only to teach in the player’s mind.
Hollow Knight’s storylines and gloomy atmosphere probably wouldn’t have made such a deep impression if it weren’t for the ghostly and equally captivating graphic style. More than 120 characters and dozens of different locations are hand-drawn and characterized in an ugly or disgusting way with extremely great exemplary detail that clearly shows their personality and behavior. The levels are not only “beautiful” purely in terms of art, but they also possess an incredible variety of ways to convey the atmosphere according to the pace of the game and the emotions of the user play, from a green-covered “garden of Eden” separated by layers with neat textures. It is a city of Tears full of nobility and splendor but no less rotten, to breath-taking holes of Deepest as giant centipedes wait to “swallow” whatever gets in their way.
Hollow Knight’s music is sad, sometimes austere, sometimes intense, sometimes painful, and no shortage of aftertaste wants us to keep going. Every time you set foot in a new area, a “roar” sound is emitted like a request to anyone who dares to venture here. Every hum of the old mapmaker signals that we no longer need to grope blindly in the dark. Every crack that comes from torn flesh of the enemy is a sign that the journey is nearing its end.
As a Metroidvania game that allows players to access areas in the game without a pre-arranged sequence (except for certain regions), Hollow Knight fully encourages players to explore to their satisfaction. I like it the way I want. Some areas appear early in the game but can be blocked in various ways and can only be accessed by special movement skills that can only be obtained later.
Thanks to the “different” characteristics in each area, the “backtrack” work in Hollow Knight never makes the writer feel bored or boring because the clear paths lead to a new location but previously unmarked completely contains elements worth exploring. Be it fragments that, when put together, will upgrade the player’s health or energy bar, a certain marginal NPC will sell give you useful upgrades or “sharpen” your nails, or even open up new sub-areas. Those are just some of the factors that make up Hollow’s brilliant-level design. Knight. If the “backtrack” is full of classic Metroidvania nuances, the way to lead through the levels is Dark Souls. The player must find his way to Conifer to buy the map. To see his location, the player must follow the pieces of paper scattered along the way, and the map can only be “updated” while the player is sitting on wooden benches (also a save point like the campfire in Dark Souls). It sounds complicated, but Hollow Knight has no shortage of visual suggestions to help players save headaches while exploring, such as the tape pins marking the position of benches, NPCs, and other characters. The treetop possesses the “essence” of fantasy (one of the “meta-games” that the player must perform if he wants to get the proper ending of the game). Even with a little keen eye, players can recognize the signs pointing the way to the above areas, or the paths in this area possess the aesthetic features of another location. Such as a small hole in the City of Tears suddenly growing all around with mushrooms is a sign that it leads to Fungal Wastes.
The way the areas in Hollow Knight are connected is also full of cunning and ingenuity. The seemingly inoperable elevators lead to an area where the player will only arrive later, the shortcuts are placed in an unexpected position, the closed doors are real. The material leads to another convenient deep hole where the player must find the right key to open it. The way that Hollow Knight makes players grope in the dark at first and then memorize every nook and cranny later to “fly” through each area skillfully, it’s hard to find. What kind of game screen design is so flexible. Of course, not all game levels are perfect; the Ancient Basin area still makes the writer frown due to being forced to go too deep with no nearby fast teleport points. All three locations connected to Ancient Basin are Kingdom’s Edge, and Royal Waterways do not have teleport points. Deepest is located on the other side of the map.
Fighting in Hollow Knight is not as flashy and diverse as Valdis Story: Abyssal City, but the game mainly focuses on the feeling of “hacking” to be the most powerful and useful. In the beginning, the player only has the jump button and the normal slash with the claw – starting extremely basic with limited combat, then beginning to expand with two-step jumps, dashes, “shooting” energy (Vengeful Spirit), or even learn more swing slashing.
Due to the limited number of moves that the character can perform, Hollow Knight possesses a unique item system called “charm” that creates different effects effectively for players. Some basic charms allow the player to absorb more energy when attacking. Geo (the in-game currency) automatically “flys” to the player or increases the damage done when the player is close to “death,” to high-class charms such as reducing the time of special moves for the claw or turning the energy from Vengeful Spirit into high-damage flukes at close range. Some types of charms are “utility” for players that mainly focus on energy and recovery; others focus on defense, allowing to increase Lifeblood (special “green” blood that exceeds initial health) or emit “darts” when the opponent touches you. In general, the spell system creates diverse methods of combining items and plays a role in building the character the way the player wants.
Of course, as a game inspired by the Souls series, there’s no reason for Hollow Knight not to make players scratching their heads with the horror difficulty in the game. There is no traditional health bar, but only the amount of health corresponding to the number of hits. So even the most harmless creatures in the game are completely capable of making the player to the nearest bench in music notes and were forced to return to the death zone to retrieve the Geo that I dropped.
All the enemies and bosses in the game are quite predictable if the player is familiar with their attack methods. Especially with bosses, even though they don’t have two stages with a sudden attack, players have to say: “What the hell???” like Dark Souls. But they’re challenging enough that no one can destroy them on the first try and aren’t too hard to damage gaming hardware (except for Radiance, I’m pretty sure who designed Radiance is the true descendant of Satan). Hollow Knight is a game with great difficulty but never makes the writer feel discouraged. The screen design is surprisingly smooth, the boss battles are challenging and extremely interesting, “training” Geo doesn’t take time (it’s not even necessary to training), exploring… There’s so much to it, so many places to explore. At the 22 hour mark, the writer has only completed 60% of the game’s content, there are still two endings waiting to be discovered, there are still empty paths on the map, and if based on the first 22 hours, The writer firmly believes that the time spent on the rest of the game will not be meaningless at all.