Hello, all you wonderful people, and welcome again to our Nindie Spotlight, where we talk about our favorite indie games and why you should play them. This week, we are going to be spending time on a game that is dear to my heart, and with the huge expansion/sequel around the corner, I feel like it is time to spotlight the original. My name is Jason, and this is your Nindie Spotlight for this week – Hollow Knight.
Hollow Knight is a brilliant metroidvania by Team Cherry that follows the Knight, a genderless void existing inside the shell of a stag beetle, as it goes on an epic journey through the many areas of Hallownest trying to recover its lost memories and save the world.
Equipped with only an old nail, you slowly but surely traverse your way throughout the different areas, backtracking as it becomes necessary, a staple of the metroidvania genre. But there is something about Hollow Knight that makes it stand out, and it has a whole lot to do with the setting and lore.
The expansive catacombs of Hallownest have so many areas to explore and secrets to discover. Team Cherry did a masterful job of prioritizing lore, history, and purpose into the game that you just cannot help but want to uncover every single frame of the map. I honestly have a difficult time remembering what was the last game that encouraged me to collect everything and see every area without being forced to.
The story is told in such a subtle way, but there is so much content that is so deep that a Wiki page is necessary to keep it all together. This is the backbone of what makes this game so brilliant.
As you continue downward deeper and deeper into the hallows of this dark and dingy world, you will encounter amazing boss fights that will challenge your skills tremendously. Actually, a lot of the enemy encounters will challenge you. In a way, Hollow Knight‘s combat feels a lot like a 2D Dark Souls, but do not let that discourage you. It is intuitive and feels amazing once you figure it out. And since it is a 2D game, the combat is more akin to learning the rhythms, similar to an old Mega Man game than anything else.
Every bit of action caters to the story and the experience, and it is as if the team planned this from the start. You see, some of the story is picked up through dialogue with these cute and strange creatures residing in this dilapidated kingdom, some of the story is communicated through important events that happen naturally through progression, some of the story is absorbed by just taking in your surroundings and the clues sprinkled throughout, and some of the story is beaten into you through the difficult battles and the trial-and-error boss fights. It is a magnificently crafted world that must be experienced firsthand to fully understand, and I have only begun talking about this game.
The Metroidvania Experience
As amazing as the story and lore are, the gameplay of Hollow Knight cannot be ignored. Although the combat and boss fights are top-notch in their own way, the game hides new abilities around the Kingdom of Hallownest that allow you to move through new paths and discover new areas.
For fans of the metroidvania genre, this is nothing groundbreaking, but Hollow Knight takes this age-old formula and gives it a breath of fresh air. As you retread old areas with your new abilities, you begin to discover certain things as shortcuts instead of the initially perceived hazard. Other games in the genre make it very clear when you cannot access a certain part of the game to lock in your mind that you must go back there eventually, even if it is just for a little item upgrade.
In this game, however, Team Cherry traded that formula for more of a self-discovery approach. That may sound intimidating for those who fear getting lost, but there is also a wonderful quick-travel system called the Stagways that make traveling around and backtracking so much easier. This allows you to quickly travel to areas to look around for a place to use your freshly-acquired powerup. Instead of holding your hand, the game gives you subtle clues that cater more towards adventuring instead of giving you the obvious solution.
Another thing that Hollow Knight does so well is offer items called Charms to the player that allows them to customize their gameplay experience to their liking. You can create loadouts for collecting more currency, moving faster, hitting harder, and so much more. This once again gives more control to the player, and it feels so great to figure out which loadouts cater to your play style most.
Loads of DLC and Silksong
Hollow Knight was partially funded through Kickstarter back in 2014, and Team Cherry made a lot of awesome promises in that campaign.
Firstly, they told supporters that all future DLC will be free to them, including a new original campaign featuring Hornet, one of the Knight’s contacts in the original story. Next, they decided to make all of the DLC free to anyone who purchases the game, and that is mostly true. Because finally, Silksong became a much bigger game than they ever expected, and Team Cherry could not afford to give this game away like they have everything else so far.
With that in mind, the original game that you can buy right now comes with the following free DLC;
• Hidden Dreams: Mighty new foes emerge! New Boss fights. New Upgrades. New Music.
• The Grimm Troupe: Light the Nightmare Lantern. Summon the Troupe. New Major Quest. New Boss Fights. New Charms. New Enemies. New Friends.
• Lifeblood: New mapping tools. New Boss fight. Upgraded Bosses. New Music. Hidden Extras!
• Godmaster: Take your place amongst the Gods. New Characters and Quests. New Boss Fights. Hidden Surprises!
Hollow Knight is truly a marvel and one of the best action games to grace gamers in decades, and the team behind it has continued to pump worthwhile content to fans since the game’s release.
And since Silksong is right around the corner, I only thought it would be appropriate to close this Nindie Spotlight with this trailer. Enjoy.
That is your Nindie Spotlight for this week! I feel bad that I did not even touch up on the soundtrack and artstyle of Hollow Knight, because I do believe they deserve their own spotlight.
So what do you think of this game? What are your thoughts? And are you looking forward to Silksong? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for stopping by SwitchWatch.co.uk. Happy gaming, everyone.