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Bugborne: Exploring the Fulfilling World of Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight is a game that flew almost completely under my radar for the two years it has been available. Hollow Knight is also a game so good that I feel as if I’ve missed something by waiting so long to play through it, a truly excellent and memorable experience. This game draws on other games for inspiration, while simultaneously providing something that can not be found anywhere else. Let’s dig into the subterranean world of Hollow Knight and find what makes it the best Metroidvania game ever made.

Much like the Title screen pictured above, Hollow Knight is a simple, elegant, and hauntingly beautiful experience. It tells the tale of a traveling bug-like creature referred to as The Knight. From the beginning it is not immediately apparent who (or what) The Knight is, where he (it?) came from, or where he must go. The Knight wields a sharp weapon called a nail and begins the adventure only able to swing the nail and jump. At first, the only way The Knight can go is down an unassuming well. When I first leapt down that dark hole, I had no notion of the beauty, glory, and occasional frustration that lay in wait.

The Knight arrives first in a location called The Crossroads, which serves as the uppermost area of the subterranean kingdom of Hollownest. The Crossroads spread in every direction, serving as a passage between the different zones in the game. From here, the player will venture to fight terrible beasts, acquire new power, and discover a kingdom fallen to plague and curse.

Narrative

Hollow Knight features a narrative that gives the player as much as the player gives the narrative. In other words, uncovering the story of Hollow Knight will take some time and a great deal of skill. Forget tired exposition, knowledge of Hallownest and its history must be gleaned from cryptic conversations and poems. Deep themes of religion tangle with elements of science fiction to produce a world both alive and dead all at once. Know that the deeper you delve into Hollownest, the closer you will come to the truth.

A Familiar Respite

Fans of the much loved FromSoftware RPGs may find a scene such as this one oddly familiar. Hollow Knight makes use of a bonfire system similar to Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro. Player progress is saved at these places of rest, and it is from here that players will restart should they meet an unsavory end. Combine this mechanic with a tough, but fair approach to combat and precision platforming, and one might be quick to call this game a Souls-like, and one might be right to do so. I find this game to be the perfect fusion between FromSoftware death mechanics and more traditional elements of the metroidvania genre.

Explaining the Unexplainable

There is a moment in the course of Hollow Knight that all players experience. It is the moment you will experience a deep adoration of this game and its world, and it is a moment that is found only while playing the very best of all video games. I refuse to say more here about this moment, because it is a shared experience among many Hollow Knight players, and I believe it should be left as obscure as possible. Just know that this game provides one of the strongest narratives I’ve ever come across in a game, and I’ve only had a similar experience on one other occasion.

Why should you play this game?

Featured above is a release trailer for the game, though if you are of adventurous spirit I recommend going into this game with as little knowledge of the game as possible. I suppose that is a mark of greatness for a video game, that is, wanting to tell others to play a game but being unwilling to explain in any detail why they should do so. I can promise you a few things should you decide to invest $14.99 in Hollow Knight (All Major platforms, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PS4, and PC).

  1. This game will push you to the limits of your skill, and you will break beyond them.
  2. This may very well become a new favorite game of yours
  3. This game provides more value for its price than games costing 4x its price.

Journey’s End?

I spent 38 hours in my initial playthrough of Hollow Knight. While what I have seen may be the ending of the game, there is still much left for me to do once I decide to venture back into Hollownest. There is post-game content for the most skilled of players, a gauntlet of sorts that will test both skill and patience. All things are interwoven into the narrative of Hollow Knight, so I suspect I still have one more mountain to climb before I can see the end.

A Sequel?

The mad lads over at Team Cherry have expanded what was at first a DLC for Hollow Knight into a full sequel for the game. My excitement for this game can hardly be contained to words. While I’m waiting for this game to release, why don’t you tell me your experience with Hollow Knight in the comments down below! If don’t have an experience with Hollow Knight yet, you’re certainly wasting your time here!