Review: Hollow Knight is a fulfilling experience

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In 2017, an Australian independent games developer surprised everyone with its global phenomenon which has amassed more than 2.8 million players. Now, with an upcoming sequel to be released later this year, here is why you should check out Team Cherry’s Hollow Knight.

Hollow Knight’s intuitive combat system and enthralling designs encourage you to experiment with the boundless swatches of Hallownest. Points of interest such as Hot Springs, Stores, Benches and Stag Lines implore you to apply your expanding understanding of the world around you to give life to previously conquered zones and also delve head-first into new and exciting areas.

A screen grab of Dirtmouth Bench, 2018. 

At times the difficulty will ramp up as you find yourself frustratingly getting lost and swiping endlessly at the same enemy for what feels like an eternity, and it wasn’t until I endured hours and hours of glorious torment that I realised these frustrations were a subtle and deliberate implementation to prepare me for the plethora of awaiting challenges. The whole experience can absolutely become a nightmare if you let it, but the game certainly doesn’t pull its punches and is all the more exciting for it.

A screen grab of City of Tears Tablet, 2018.

It is easy to overlook the expansive and incredibly detailed world when playing but, when taking the occasional breather, it’s hard to ignore the phenomenal designs injected into each biome. The enemies exclusive to each area are either cleverly interwoven with a previously encountered species or are completely varied and detailed in their own ways. The backdrops that follow you are thoroughly captivating and transition seamlessly from one area to the next, allowing for a more surreal storytelling experience that demonstrates that Team Cherry has confidently shown how quantity can still be quality. Every area you traverse provides a unique visual perspective to the game’s story and is an integral tool in understanding your place in Hallownest’s history.

Awaiting you within each of these domains are bosses, each just as surprising, threatening and incredibly well designed as the last. Certain bosses resemble the attack patterns of standard enemies from that particular area, while others present a unique challenge based on their importance in the story. This encourages you to mix and match charms, stay up to date with skills and mechanics, and know areas like the back of your hand as you repeatedly travel back and forth between bench and boss in order to eventually take them down. 

A screen grab of Hornet, 2018.

In a world booming with huge AAA titles, Team Cherry has provided a wholesome, immersive experience that holds its own and ensures you’ll have your hands full well before you crack open a new save file. Hollow Knight asks a lot from its audience and rewards them with an enriched and intriguing narrative, as well as incredibly challenging combat that will leave you both exhausted and satisfied once you put it down. 

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