When I first heard about Hollow Knight, I wasn’t terribly intrigued. Someone described it as Dark Souls meets Metroidvania-style platforming, and that was all it took for me to ignore it as it sat in Nintendo’s eShop for more than a month. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the value of the Dark Souls experience, but the anxiety riddled trek into a dark castle is too much for me to handle.
After seeing the rave reviews continuing to flood out for the independent game, my resolve finally cracked and I downloaded Hollow Knight. It was very clear from the opening scene that my prejudgement had no place in this Tim Burton dreamland of a platformer.
The game, which follows the titular character through the catacombs of Hollownest (the long-abandoned kingdom) has some serious similarities with the Dark Souls franchise; including big bosses that, once defeated, open up further parts of the world, and the unfortunate loss of all of your money upon being defeated (don’t worry, you can track it down via a ‘soul’ like the aforementioned franchise).
Typically, when a game is (very heavily) influenced by an established franchise, it’s torn apart by critics and players alike. What sets Hollow Knight apart is the fact that it establishes its own insect-heavy lore while making the gameplay mechanics that pleased (and frustrated) many Dark Souls fans feel more accessible for players like me who were turned off originally.
Hollow Knight has collectables aplenty, appeasing even the most hardcore of completionists. The map, which seems to grow endlessly, is filled in when you meet NPCs or happen to find a bench to rest and save yourself and the game.
Similarly to many of the Metroidvania games, this side-scrolling platformer doesn’t rely on a linear gameplay path, allowing you to explore the way you want to. Yes, there are some difficulty barriers that make the game closed off until certain requirements are met, but it’s a total treat to do so!
I’ve yet to be disappointed with Hollow Knight, and I cannot wait for the DLC to hit in the future. What were your impressions of Hollow Knight on the Nintendo Switch? Sound off in the comments below!