Hollow Knight – A Satisfying World of Miniature Macabre

hollow knight indie game gameplay review switch

Hollow Knight, alright here are the descriptors. It’s dark, really dark, but also kind of… cute? In a world, run by bugs, in a dingy old cave lies adventure. That was my attempt at movie trailer narration. Get ready to kick bugs.

I found this game on GameFly, where I’ve got a queue of indie games lined up. Why not? Games can be expensive, but I can’t do this without getting hands-on with the games. P.S. Gamefly has really good customer service, so if you think you might be able to use it, go ahead, it’s fairly stress-free.

Oh, and just a quick side note, there is a sequel to Hollow Knight called Hollow Knight: Silksong. It is currently without a release date, and seems on hiatus. But this review is of the original.

Hollow Knight: Jeepers Creepers

I started off in a very dark hole. That was the major theme I found in this game. Everything in the game is dark and ethereal, kind of spectral. I do not think this is what I would call a horror game. It’s more of a Tim Burton/Donnie Darko cathartic whim. You know, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, etc.

Hollow Knight Gameplay

I crawled through a good 15 minutes of the intro gameplay and got quite far. This doesn’t seem like a puzzle game, but maybe it is. It’s more of a platformer than anything. It even has checkpoints. Ah, I’m going to be saying that word again, Metroidvania.

I kind of struggled on the floating platforms. I always do. After like three and a half minutes of acting like a bozo on the first platforms, I kind of got a grip on the game.

Knight of the Night

Hollow Knight Lights

The combat system is basically of the hack and slash genre as far as the hollow eye socket can see. I like the feel of it, it’s kind of flashy with slightly invasive danger from the environment. There was no difficulty level prompt at the beginning so I suspect that means it’s a one-size-fits-all approach.

If you get low on health you can quench on some sort of soul juice or something you get for killing things. It’s basically Mario 2 hearts, with skulls; I apologize for plucking that comparison from the front a short tree, like popping radishes out of the ground and throwing them at a weird llama.

Dark Game

Left Turn at Albuquerque

There is not a ton of intuition of where to go in the game, or rather, it all kind of looks the same so it’s not obvious at first. I wandered around in the ruins of the kingdom underground quite a bit but I got so turned around I didn’t know how to get out. But when I finally died I respawned at a bench in the last “village.” So, that makes this gameplay pretty manageable for a stream play session or just exploring.

Does anybody really want to play a platformer with permadeath anyway? I guess they do, but as I record gameplay I absolutely dread this. Luckily it wasn’t here.

One additional comparison I wanted to make, this game totally reminds me of Ori and the Will of the Wisps. In almost every way, although Ori is in a forest, and Hollow Knight is deep in chambers of the earth. Wait, actually, when I think about it, they both are. It’s so similar that I had to cross-reference a few controls. They are independent of each other, so it’s not like one is imitating the other. It’s a good frame of reference though

Hollow Knight: A Grim Fable

This game’s heavy on the storyline. There are actually other characters to talk to along the way, which makes this not quite as apocalyptic as I first suspected. The characters seem pretty neat. I liked a lot of the dialogue in the game. There’s also a bit o’ poetry shimmied across the story cut scenes. This is a sophisticated game, for sophisticated whatever these things are.

Hollow Knight DIrtmouth
Dirtmouth Rest

This game came out in 2017, but it is still relevant. There is now a sequel called Silksong supposedly in development, but not much information. If you like the Tim Burton’esque aesthetic, you’re probably going to like the game.

This review is a bit short, but games like this don’t always have a lot to say. There are a bazillion videos and reviews, but this game is quite epic. A holistic approach to video games with some message, somewhere, I’ll just crawl down this tunnel a bit further.

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