Hollow Knight is a 2D action-adventure game that plays as a side scroller. Development was partially funded by a Kickstarter way back in 2014 and it was eventually published by Australian company Team Cherry for PC in early 2017 and is currently free for PlayStation Plus members during the month of November, 2020. Hollow Knight was well received by critics and the gaming community as a whole upon release, which is easy to understand once players jump in and experiences the game themselves. With a unique art style, fantastic enemy design and gameplay, it is very easy to get lost within the kingdom of Hallownest.
Players takes control of a nameless knight and travels throughout the underground of Hallownest, fighting various creatures and unlocking new abilities along the way. There is a story here, but it is unlike most. At the beginning it is explained that Hallownest is a fallen kingdom that sets a premise for the adventure to come, but where Hollow Knight differs from most stories is it relies on the player to explore and learn the lore throughout the gameplay and put a story together a bit like a puzzle. There are many non-playable characters and ruins that throw more and more information at the player, and the online forums that discuss this lore is prevalent.
Traversing the beautiful world always remains fast paced and some precise jumping is required in many areas. In the early game, some areas are un-reachable due to missing a particular ability that allows the player to get there, for example, the Mantis Claw which allows the player to jump off walls or the Monarch Wings which give the player the ability to perform a double jump. These new abilities are obtained through progression, but there is often a boss fight at some point between them.
Combat is strongly melee oriented, with some range attacks that can be learnt later on and there are many different enemies the player must face, each with a unique style of attack, defence and movement. What Hollow Knight does well is allow the player enough time to learn how an enemy moves without taking too much damage and so, while the combat remains challenging, death never feels unfair at all. Each defeated enemy drops a number of Geo’s that once obtained, can be used to purchase various upgrades and unlocks to skills, abilities and maps.
The player’s health is represented by masks and can be upgraded by collecting a number of Mask Shards scattered throughout the game. After losing all masks the player drops the Geo they were holding, however, upon death the player can retrieve their lost Geo by returning to the location they died and killing their ghost. After dying, the player is sent to the last bench they rested on, which are found in various locations on the map where the player can save their progress and create a checkpoint for when they lose a life.
Hollow Knight has a cartoon visual style and while it is not grotesquely violent, deciding whether to play it in front of the kids may come down to their age. It is easy enough to pause and jump right back in to the action with ease so if the little one’s do disapprove; there is not a problem.
Brando for One More Game
9 – Amazing – as near to a 10 as you are going to get without it being a 10. It’s an amazing experience that just requires that little something else to make it a masterpiece. Your hard earned cash and time would be well spent here.
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Hollow Knight was played on an Xbox One X and is available free for PlayStation Plus members for the month of November, 2020. It is also available on Xbox and Xbox Game Pass, Nintendo Switch and PC.
All thoughts on this game are ours and ours alone.