Game Review: Hollow Knight

Jan 15, 2018
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Game Review
by @Dark

Hollow Knight

The more we advance in technology and 3D graphics, the more I feel that we have forgotten the immense work and attention used for hand-drawn games. Hollow Knight comes not only to remind us of this, but also to bring life to a subgenre that both cried out for news.

It is what I consider a "slow burner", for a "metroidvania", do not expect a constant positive reinforcement. Part of this comes from the way it handles upgrades and progression. The pace at which improvements are released, a stereotype of the subgenre, and it is somewhat slower than the usual.

In contrast, it delivers a system of "Charms", pieces of equipment - so to speak - that manipulate the interaction between the player and the environment. A charm, for example, can give you more dodge speed, or a reduction in some sort of kick taken while taking damage.

The exchange proposed here is more than useful, it is necessary to revamp the structure that encapsulates exploration games with platform elements and character progression. Instead of having a set of items that may or may not be used by the player, it gives the option to strengthen the repertoire that he prefers. A case completely contrary to that of Axiom Verge, who gave me more than twenty weapons, but rarely upgraded their use except situational moments.

Although inspired by games like Ori and The Blind Forest, Metroid, etc.; Hollow Knight evokes more the sensation of adventure than a "go from one map to another". Each area is grand, full of life and details. Only on rare occasions does it give you some sense of direction, maps must be purchased, items must be used to reveal the location, and dozens of secrets hidden behind walls that may go unnoticed while looking inattentive. I suffered in the final areas for not having noticed a few dozen paths that could have been accessed later, and cost me some dumb deaths.

There is no way to speak of Hollow Knight without mentioning Team Cherry's amazing artwork in developing not only an exceptional identity for the characters and the world they inhabit but also distort expectations.

When looking inattentive, Hollow Knight is, as many have mentioned to me, "cute". The cast formed by insects was humanized, rare are those that show some tone of aggression. That fluffy insect can be a trap that explodes while being killed.

Our brain works in a peculiar way on this subject, we are so accustomed to understanding evil as an element that is visible that, just a touch of humanization in it and that way of thinking goes away.

Few games create such a subversion as visible as Hollow Knight. In Bloodborne, for example, we are always afraid of the unknown, of the occult. In Hollow Knight not only is reinforced the notion of insignificance, fear is generated by what can not correlate. How can 'good' become 'evil'?

It establishes a dynamism between a state of surprise, anxiety and overcoming that dictates the rules of the areas of Hollow Knight. You feel in a quasi-real world, but that generates mistrust given to previous experiences.

Hollow Knight goes beyond the enemies to evoke tension, part of the actions are highlighted by the use of soul storage, obtained by attacking or eliminating an enemy. Souls are the currency of exchange for the use of skills and recovery of soul vessels - name given to your hitpoints. The game then raises questions about when and how to use such souls. Would you dare go into an area without a map and be dependent only on the chance to hit enemies to regain life?

The game isn't punitive purely for being punitive, it hammers in the player's head the moment he arrives at Dirtmouth: "You are fragile, act like such." As far as the acceptable stereotype of David vs. Goliath, Hollow Knight is one of the best games that make use of it. You are literally an insect and you are never on par with the bosses. Seen as a weird intruder in that even more bizarre land.

It is this kind of spice up that was lacking in the so-called "metroidvanias". The presentation of an explorable map says little when all the player does is move from one area to another to reach a goal. Here it stays in the background, it is not the desire to complete something, it is the pleasure of learning more about something.

Sometimes we are so conditioned to follow a certain route that we do not always stop to question the reasoning for it. In this questioning that Hollow Knight creates it's cocoon, with stimulating mechanics and subversive characters. One of the few games that comes from this subgenre that really caught my attention.

And this is why I suggest this specific indie game for you, fellow GG Member. It'll be an amazing experience and you won't regret it whatsoever.

Link in Steam:, it shouldn't go above $15. A cheap price for a great game.​