Every so often a game comes out that reminds me about why I love to play video games. Breath of the Wild was the last one to do that. And then came Hollow Knight which I’m about 6 hours into now.
And man, what a 6 hours it’s been. It’s 6 of the best hours I’ve ever experienced with the medium.
Everything from the level design, to the artwork, to the atmosphere, to the combat work in such unison to provide an experience that is greater than the sum of its parts. And I can tell I’m just scratching the surface of this incredibly large labrynth of a game.
This isn’t just a prime example of how to do a Metroidvania, it’s a prime example of how to do everything that a video game can do to stand apart. It offers very rewarding progression, perfectly tailored challenges, tantalizing areas that are just out of reach, haunting and beautiful sound design, and so many diverging pathways that are intricately connected and non-repetitive.
I’m not sure how three people created such a beast while still giving such a tight and focused design. Often times, even the best games tend to do one or two things exceptionally well to help them stand apart from the rest of the market place. But this one executes on every aspect at the highest possible level. No one aspect of the game stands apart as greater than the others. Every screen you enter is unique and striking with great enemy placement. And the boss fights are awesome and exciting.
It’s a joy to just move around and play the game. But even more importantly than that, discovering new areas really carries a sense of dread and weight until you get to know them and understand what new dangers lurk.
Every time I need to put down this game, I continue thinking about for hours afterwards and look forward to the next opportunity I have to enjoy it and continue my progress. It’s fully captured my imagination and re-opened my eyes to how great games can be even in genres that have been fully explored by legends of the industry several decades prior.
Team Cherry should be very proud of what they’ve put together here.
P.S. I’m playing on Switch and really love the game in both docked and portable modes. It feels tailor made for the system even though it’s not - which is also quite an accomplishment. The split D-buttons of the left joycon work perfectly for the game as does the pro-controller’s d-pad (although ymmv with that one considering the issues some people have with it). And the game looks beatiful at 1080p on my set and 720p on the handheld screen with no framerate drops.