I’m just a few hours into my journey through the depths of Hollow Knight, and so far the experience has been both beautiful and challenging.
In the Metroid tradition, you’re dropped into a strange world and must discover your path, finding upgrades and beating bosses as you go further down into the unknown. The opening sequence doesn’t explain too much outside of ‘you’re the hero, get to it’, but from the outset you can tell that Hollow Knight is a very different kind of beast, despite how similar it may seem.
There’s a Binding of Isaac vibe in some of its creature designs, the weird and the unusual, but it’s beautiful to see in action thanks to the hand drawn animations. The insect like creatures move fluidly through the mysterious environments, mosquito’s pinging you from a distance and beetles running at you with horns and waving legs. The intimidation factor comes more from the environment at first than the enemies you discover early on, large caves and uncertain paths that don’t become clear until you find your first map.
Once I understood where I was supposed to go next, climbing back to the surface to purchase a quill and a pin showing my location on said map, I was off and running. Those first few minutes are scary at first because of the lack of hand holding, but in a good way. I was a tad confused, sure, but I was sucked in by this world and the mysteries that lay in wait. I could already tell there would be plenty of back tracking as I ran through those early tunnels, spotting high places I couldn’t yet reach.
With the path clearer ahead of me, I finally reached the first boss, to discover that my little Knight was completely outmatched. Careful spotting of attack patterns led to a much better second encounter, leaving the large armoured mass in a heap. Despite the darkness that surrounds Hollow Knight, there’s plenty of humour here too, as I sliced and diced the big bosses head, exposed as his helmet came off. To later discover that he was but a small, caterpillar like creature that only took up a portion of the armour was amusing, better still the end of his mace as it tried to roll away and escape on its own.
Hollow Knight has been an amazing adventure so far. I’m only a few hours in, but the quality here is right up there with the best platform adventures on the market. Better still, it doesn’t conform to any retro aesthetic, its animation stands head and shoulders above many of its equivalents, I’m greatly impressed by its presentation as a whole (the soundtrack, too, is top notch). It’s eerily beautiful.
Hollow Knight is now available on Steam, thanks to Aussie studio Team Cherry. I can’t wait to dive in further, to discover what else lays in wait and what other strange powers I might pick up on the way. You’ll get to see my journey too, later this week in Part One of my Hollow Knight Let’s Play. Stay tuned!