People seem to really love Hollow Knight. I can kind of see why, it is very pretty and atmospheric.
But four hours in, I’m finding it very hard to keep on playing. It’s like the game is working really hard to push me away.
For one, I strongly dislike the jump. It takes incredibly long to actually register the press; I’ve fallen off ledges dozens of times while doing routine running jumps. For another, the game revels in all kinds of hostile bullshit. Press the heal button for 0.95s instead of 1s? Congratulations, you’ve spent the mana but have not been healed. Fighting a boss? Excellent; there won’t be a health bar, nor any other indication that the boss is taking damage. Have fun figuring out if you’re even doing the right thing in the fight!
“Oh, I bet you’re going to be finding all kinds of wonderful equipment down there” an NPC says during the opening sequence. In four hours of playing the only special abilities of note I’ve found are the ability to draw maps and a shitty attack spell. No new traversal options. No new weapons. Any items I’ve found are useless junk (“hey, here’s a thing that’d fit right into an open slot” an item description says; that’s great, I just saw a door with a “there’s an open slot here, that you should insert something into” description. Bet this opens a new area, yay! Hah, no. Just some developers trolling, despite the matching descriptions the two have nothing to do with each other.)
The shopkeeper has a lamp for sale. That’s exciting. No, seriously, there’s some dark rooms so having a lamp might open up the game a bit. Maybe there’s even a fucking double jump hidden in one of those rooms? Except it’d take a few hours of grinding to afford the lamp, so I refuse to believe that’s the intended path.
There isn’t really any story to talk about yet, and the lore that you get for inspecting the statues is just dreadful. I like the characters, but with 2-3 lines of dialogue each, they’re not exactly deep…
So… Is there any reason for me to keep playing?
I think I’ve done all of Greenpath except the dark areas, bits that require some kind of improved jump to access, and the boss battle against the lady with the needle. Am I entirely in the wrong area? Or just missing something? If this is the intended path, is the game going to get better real soon now? Am I on the verge of getting better traversal options, or a weapon with a useful hitbox? Is there actually something worthwhile here, or is the fandom around this game really just about the Soulsy "obfuscate everything, explain nothing, " aspects?