Hollow Knight - convince me to keep playing


I bought it anyway. Beat the first boss and collected a lot of stuff and haven’t died yet. I am assuming it gets more difficult, but it isn’t too bad at the start though. It can be brutal though. The ability to heal is good, risk/reward vs doing damage.

False Knight was a really cool fight.


Yeah I gotta get back to this, sadly I am sure I’ve lost all muscle memory on how to fight and dodge, lol.



I’m loving this on the Switch, but it IS hard. Probably the hardest Metroidvania I have played, specially in regards to platforming (some sections are brutal and reming me of some hard Super Meatboy levels. They are also probably optional). Bosses are not “hard” per se but they do require heavy memorization and fast reflexes. It feels like a “hardcore” metroidvania. Not quite La-Mulana level, but certainly farther out there and more opaque than even the classics.

The lackluster fast travel (for now, I still have some areas to open and it might improve) and heavy backtracking (the structure is really open) make it slightly of a chore here and there, but overall, the sheer size of it does help making the world feel multilayered.

It’s quite the game, probably the best moetroidvania I have played in a decade or so, if you can manage the difficulty, and a paid for DLC with a new character, new areas and new story is planned, which seems more like a semi-sequel/expansion pack than a regular DLC.


Yeah, that’s what worries me. Maybe I wait for a sale like I did with Gungeon, not because it isn’t worth full price, but I am only likely to progress so far.

Anybody played both this and Dead Cells that can comment on the relative difficulty?


You can’t really compare them.
Dead Cells is non-stop action, Hollow Knight is an adventure but is quite more demanding.


Let’s say the boss fights, then.


Ok, so I finished this. True final boss beaten. I’m missing an extra hard DLC boss but I have an opinion.

This game, I think, belongs to a trinity along Super Metroid and Symphony of the Night as one of the three best metroidvanias ever.

The game specially shines in level and world design and in the platforming mechanics (except for the short jump, but I’ll get to that).

Level design is clearly inspired by Dark Souls. It is a really interconnected world with many shortcuts that you eventually open. The gating is not very hard for the most part, and for a long time mid-game it’s actually very open as to where you can/should go. In this regard I think it’s better than Super Metroid and Symphony of the Night. It’s just a more organic, more modern world design that has learnt a lot from past metroidvanias and instead of going through a super-planned structure (like most modern metroidvanias) it goes in the oppossite direction, taking a clue of pre-genre solidification games, with a couple of obscure puzzles and the like. A lot of care has been taken in making the world feel unified and organic. There’s a great sense of place here, with very few elements that feel tackled on.

This structural and world design is complemented by very tight platforming mechanics. Most of the gating in the game is done through mobility, and the game knows you are going to take advantage of all the movement mechanics. So the game ups the ante and offers you the hardest platforming in a Metroidvania that I remember. Some of the areas you need to go though for the true ending look impossible at first glance and force you to understand and use all the movement mechanics in pretty much every possible permutation, some of them apparently game breaking at first glance. Some sections are Super Meat Boy-style hard. You can get the regular ending without going through them, but even regular levels expect tight platforming control. This is pretty much unlike any metroidvania I remember and is what I think makes the game great.

Where the game fails to live up to it’s potential is the combat. The combat is tight and fast, and it has some interconnected mechanics that allow you to do crazy stuff with simple tools, but at the end it does not offer enough variety. Part of it is the lackluster equipment system, but overall you have the same attack (with minor variations in power and reach) for all the game. Nowhere you can see crazy effects like the freezing of Metroid, and the equipment overload of Symphony of the Night (with it’s many, many different weapons with different mechanics) is not there either. This has the advantage that combat can be designed very tightly, as tightly as the platforming sections. And bosses are fast and dangerous. But untimately 90% of them feel exactly like variations of the same thing. You have 3-4 evasion tools at most and bosses are just an exercise of reading patterns and executing in time. Coupled with an uninspired decision to have all but 2 boss fights be in a square, featureless arena, and it feels like a missed opportunity. Give me this game with a more delicate, expansive or expressive combat system and it could have been my favorite metroidvania ever. As it is is merely great :P.

Also, to make hard boss combats feasible they do this weird thing with the jump that if you release the button mid jump it automatically cancels the ascent (as oppossed to great platforming games where upwards speed is cut but not totally cancelled). Makes jump-slashing easier, but feels strange when platforming.

Finally, I think it overstays it’s welcome a tiny bit. Took me 35 hours to reach the true ending. 20 hours would have been a much more reasonable prospect. Part of it is the very mild fast travel you are given. A lot of time is spent going from one place to another with little tension or sense of discovery. The sense of wonder dissapears when there’s still too much game left. Once you open the regular ending they should have introduced a way to do all minor quest and remaining stuff faster.

But anyway, I thought it was fantastic, despite the minor flaws. Doesn’t replace Super Metroid or Symphony of the Night, but comes really damn close…


Great analysis, Juan. I agree, it’s a classic. I don’t think I remember any platforming areas that felt “Super Meat Boy hard” (there was ONE tiny little jump, part of a whole platform series with those platforms that collapse under you if you’re on them too long… I don’t think I could describe it, but it just required you to be too too precise.)

I have done everything in the base game, but I haven’t been able to beat the final final boss. Do you have a charm set up that worked for you?


I always use Mark of Pride and Sprint Master on bosses. The extra reach and speed allows for more windows of opportunity and easier dodging away.

For the true final boss I complimented those with Soul Eater and Quick Focus, for easier and more frequent healing, as well as enough souls to spam spells during the 2nd and 4th sections of the boss.

The key for the final boss is to use the 3rd section (vertical sword spam) to heal up and recharge souls so you start the final section fresh and able to spam spells if the opportunity arises.


The super hard platforming section (for me) is the white palace. It is Super Meatboy hard, but with the honey charm it is split in manageable chunks. But doing that with limited lives would have been infuriating, I think.


Oh jeez, yeah. You’re right. I had totally forgotten about that section. I powered through it in a session or two, but it was a lot of trying and retrying. I seem to recall having to look up the trick to a couple of sections which weren’t obvious as well.


I’ve returned and died about 10 times in a half hour, but my combat skills are back!

I upgraded my nail!

This was a very unpleasant boss fight…

Lore bits like this are so good.

Opened a hatch:

Had a rest:

Came across a sweet monument!

Game still oozes crazy good amounts of atmosphere.

I am gonna try to stick with this and finish, unless I get stuck on a boss and rage quit again. :p


I never knew this was a thing back in 2013. I thought for sure a games journalist would’ve mentioned it to me by now.




I want to play this but no point in picking it up now because the laptop cant handle it. Winter sale will be close enough to when I go back home so I’ll probably pick it up then.


Ooh, Xbox One and PS4 versions also coming soon, digital as well as physical. Nice.


On sale on the switch right now ;)


I’m kicking myself for not getting one while in the US. :-)


Sweet! Waiting this long paid off!