Hollow Knight Review
Has long received a response in the hearts of gamers who love thoughtful, yet game-rich games.
However, the main projects of this genre, Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night , died down more than twenty years ago.
Since then, the development of such games has been mainly the release of sequels to the aforementioned hits, and novelties have appeared quite rarely.
With the release of Metroid Prime, the industry received a rethinking of the classics in a fully three-dimensional incarnation.
Next came Batman: Arkham Asylum and Dark Souls , who used the popular formula, but made important adjustments to it. Nevertheless, nostalgic fans wanted the return of two dimensions.
With the development of the industry, the genre gained a new impetus thanks to independent developers who began to build their projects on old concepts.
But only now, with the release of Hollow Knight , they finally got to approach the classics in scale and value.
Hollow Knight is not just a “regular indie metro-dating” with Kickstarter.
Created by enthusiasts on the knee and copying well-known series, but a modern.
Independent and original game that amazes with the scope and depth of elaboration in all aspects.
Despite all the continuity, it is completely not perceived again.
Founding the project on a strong traditional foundation, the developers gave it unique features, introducing their own mechanics and placing the player in a memorable colorful world.
Which opens from various sides and will not leave indifferent.
You act as an unnamed silent knight, who sets out on a perilous journey to the ruins of the ancient underground city of Hallowest.
Falling lower and lower, you discover what is left of the previously prosperous kingdom and its inhabitants.
Who slowly go mad under the influence of some infection.
The game does not focus on the plot, and the story itself is given light strokes through the environment, rare monologues of characters and objects.
But just like in Super Metroid and Dark Souls , it makes it so amazing and atmospheric.
The base Hollow Knight is a 2D adventure game, completely focused on the gameplay.
The central core of which are: platforming, exploring the world.
Developing the character’s capabilities and fighting with numerous opponents.
In accordance with accepted canons, all these elements are closely interrelated with each other and jointly ensure progress in the world of the game.
You have to use all the available opportunities to move forward: explore the locations in search of new passes and secret places.
Fight with unique opponents and get new abilities that allow you to get into previously inaccessible areas of Hallowest.
Upgrades also help to defeat especially dangerous enemies, which represent an obstacle in the way of the hero.
All the key elements of Team Cherry were given maximum attention and respect.
Bringing each of them to the ideal.
Understanding the importance of the research process.
The developers have invested a lot of energy in the development of the game world.
Hallowest is rich in content, open and implemented on the principle of a hive that connects the central hub.
And many large diverse locations into a single whole with a complex system of corridors and short routes.
The design of the card is flawless.
At first, the cozy chamberiness is replaced by a stunning surprise from the opening scale and detail of the elaboration.
In total, Hollow Knight has fifteen large locations that are endowed with their unique features that directly affect the gameplay.
On a thorough research each takes a few hours of real time.
Zones differ from each other as features of the terrain that affect movement.
As well as numerous dangers, such as traps and enemies.
The latter correspond to the type of location, have their own behavior and can attack with a swarm.
So, in Mushroom Wastes, puddles of acid become a frequent barrier to you.
And in the Queen’s Gardens there are numerous thorns that complicate movement on the walls.
Some areas are more open, while others are networks of close labyrinths.
There are both more horizontal zones and vertical ones.
The features of each location are perfectly emphasized by art and subtle musical accompaniment.
Which in combination create their own atmosphere and mood.
In some you will feel a pleasant warmth, in others – a slight melancholy.
And sometimes – stuffy thick darkness and hopelessness.
Level designers fill the world with interactive elements, numerous physical obstacles and mechanisms.
Here you will find cruel bosses, secret zones with objects and a lot of secret passages.
At the locations there are different events, and you meet new characters with their own little stories.
In Hollow Knight, there is always where to go and why return.
The game provides a good system of tags, which for a small fee are bought from the wife of the cartographer.
You can mark interesting places for yourself and do not miss anything.
Backtracking is present in the game as an indispensable element of research – it’s quite a lot.
Due to the gradually unfolding variety of opportunities.
It will be necessary to return to the previously passed areas constantly.
And this is always justified by your current goals.
It is unlikely that there will be situations of stupid wanderings on the map, except when you yourself want it.
For example, to make money from fallen enemies.
Each location is associated with other zones in several ways and sections.
All transitions between levels are smooth, logical and correctly designed.
And all the contrasts present perfectly fit into the context, pleasantly surprise and do not cause rejection.
Visually the card is executed similarly to other genre games and can be called at any time by pressing the L button.
Initially, new areas are hidden, so the first thing in the next location is to find a cartographer who will sell you a sketch that opens the base level structure.
After purchasing a special upgrade, the hero starts restoring the detected zones within the area during the rest.
Trader cards can be found by the characteristic song he sings.
Thus, the authors observe a delicate balance between convenience.
Atmospheric research of the lost and long forgotten dungeons of a dead city.
Rest on the benches, as in the ICO , is the only way to keep progress.
Stalls like bonfires in Dark Souls also work as points of restoring life and rebirth, where you return after death.
In the game there is a system of rapid movement with the help of Stations Railways, which you will meet almost at every location.
A huge beetle will move you free of charge on its back to any railway station that you opened earlier or return it to the central hub.
In the city of Gryazmut you can always rest on the bench and buy valuable items from merchants.
You can also buy a card of this or that area in case you did not have time to buy it from the cartographer in the dungeon.
Traveling around the world, you will meet many different characters.
Some of them sell valuable items, like amulets or improvements.
While others are closely related to the history and side quests.
The characters are interesting and well-designed both in terms of design and character.
All of them would like to talk with you, and in the future you will even get an opportunity to read their thoughts.
It is also interesting that there is in Hollow Knight and some variation of the passage.
In many areas you can get in different ways and, accordingly, pass them really too from different ends.
Some characters and their quests can simply not be found, and important subjects – skip.
This increases the involvement in the game. Different users can go through different routes.
It is possible that some locations you will not see if you do not set the goal to explore the world 100% and go through the game for this ending.
In Hollow Knight, there are several endings with various variations of the final battles, a ton of secrets and desired items.
Bound in the banks and scattered around the world of caterpillars is very nice to save, watching how cute they are pleased your arrival.
Lor and the plot of the game will unfold gradually. As in Dark Souls , it does not lie on the surface.
Of course, some moments are obvious, but to get a complete picture of what is happening.
You will need to carefully study the locations and artifacts scattered on them, to read between the lines in the dialogues.
The study of a so elaborate and diverse world evokes a sense of exploratory excitement and joy from the discovery of something new.
The process captures and delivers a real delight to the fans of the genre.
Obviously, the developers understood how important the world is in these games and came to its creation with trepidation and love.
The second pillar of Hollow Knight , which should be mentioned in detail, are battles with opponents and the combat system as a whole.
In this respect, the game is somewhat different from other representatives of the genre.
Borrowing some concepts from Mega Man and Dark Souls .
Since Hollow Knight does not have a distinct role system, unlike Castlevania.
The power of your character does not depend on the numerical values.
But you will meet new items and improvements for the hero, which will make the battle easier and more variable.
The game constantly offers new even more difficult opponents.
And the success of battles primarily depends on your own skills.
How well you know the character, the techniques of platforming and understand the logic of the enemy’s behavior – all this affects the outcome of fights.
Of course, some battles require improvements to advance the story.
But almost any strong boss can be defeated with minimal weapon improvements.
From this point of view, the game will be close to the fans of Dark Souls .
About the famous series from FromSoftware also recalls the mechanics of the revival of the main character.
In case of death, the character resurrects on the last bench on which he rested.
But loses all the accumulated money. The latter will wait for you along with the shadow to be defeated.
The health recovery system looks interesting.
Inflicting damage on enemies, you accumulate Focus, a special ability that is activated by pressing button A.
Allowing you to replenish life in exchange for souls,a local analog of mana, replenished by blows to enemies.
The time spent on activating the focus is also important.
Sometimes, in the heat of a hot battle, you will have to guess the optimal moment to be in time to heal without having to take off a couple of strong blows.
In addition to the ability to heal, you also expend souls on combat spells.
The game motivates use as near attacks, and magic.
And the need to replenish souls with blows adds to the already active struggles of meaningful dynamics.
Opponents are represented by a significant variety: the game is about 145 kinds of enemies, including several dozen bosses.
Each of them has its own unique features.
Types of forms, behaviors and attacks are so different that they require their own approach.
Enemies run around, jump, fly, transform themselves, hide themselves in shields, spit venom, burst into pieces, explode with poisonous gas, mimic the peaceful inhabitants and flora.
And this is only a small part of the behavioral patterns.
And almost all of them leave after their death a geo-local currency.
The amount of which often depends on the complexity and rarity of the opponent.
At the same time, you are not forced to rush everyone indiscriminately.
Enemies appear again some time after death, and you can always try to run past them.
In the dark dungeons of the world of Hallowest, dozens of bosses of completely different kinds await you: from small to huge trembling giants with their unique and complex behavior.
The developers have prepared a wide variety of attacks and division into phases.
Which change and complicate the behaviors of the opponent during the battle.
Every boss has to learn to develop their tactics. And to defeat some of them, you do need to properly improve the equipment of the character.
Thanks to all this, the confrontations turned out to be very dynamic, saturated and really complex.
Most of them are mandatory for the plot passage, as the bosses obstruct the path or guard an important improvement.
However, there are optional battles that can be used to complete side quests or obtain rare items and materials.
At the same time, you never feel that the game is unfair to you.
Convenient management of the hero does not put the sticks in the wheel.
And high complexity motivates them to learn rivals.
Think through tactics and improve their own skills.
And also to raise the hero’s available performance.
The two main characteristics of the character, life and souls, increase with obtaining the appropriate fragments.
In total, four fragments are needed for a new cell of life and three fragments to increase the capacity of the vessel of the souls.
Key skills necessary for the immediate passage of the game, such as a double jump.
A dash in the air and a rebound from the walls, you get after the boss battles and during the study of the main locations.
Improvements can also affect battles by expanding the list of your tricks and spells.
Sometimes for progress you will also need unique items.
You will not once see areas of pitch darkness that you can not pass without a flashlight.
Not to mention the numerous closed doors that require keys.
To collect all the improvements, you need to seriously dig deeper into the research and search for secrets.
The nail is the main and only weapon in Hollow Knight , available from the very beginning.
His strength can be increased several times by the blacksmith for money and pieces of Pale ore, a very rare material.
In addition, you can customize the character with the help of amulets.
Each of them has its own effect, such as displaying the hero on the map.
Giving the body a specific smell, increasing the attack, changing the status status or adding unique skills.
Since the cells for amulets are limited in number and each of them has its own cost of wearing.
Expressed by the requirement for the number of cells.
Then sometimes it is necessary to think about the optimal configuration of equipment before the difficult boss.
The game is hand-drawn and looks delicious on both the PC and the Nintendo Switch in TV mode and portable format.
The developers have implemented many beautiful effects and animations, which, together with responsive control, make the picture alive and incredibly atmospheric.
Multilayered backgrounds with translucent elements,gloomy crypts and the study of physics.
When the ancient plates are pressed under the weight of a character with a characteristic hum and flying dust in all directions.
Add a draft of additional dipping points.
Acouple of times we came across some small blots.
But in general this is a good result for a small independent team from Australia.
Among other things, continues to update Hollow Knight with new additions with complex and very beautiful bosses and locations.
Music in Hollow Knight is an integral part of the atmosphere of the game.
At first glance, the title theme may seem simple.
Because in this melody only the piano and violin sounds.
But thanks to a small echo and some other tricks the composer managed to convey the feeling of anguish and despair felt by the main character and the player together with him.
The rest of the melodies also sound quite discharged, but they emphasize and add the necessary emotions.
The number of simultaneously sounding instruments is usually small.
However the composer skillfully uses a wide pool of sounds and harmonies.
From the string quartet to the amazing female vocals.
It is unfortunate that in the official soundtrack there are not many compositions that are in the game itself.
Let’s hope that Christopher Larkin will release Extended Play to the album with all the tracks from the project.