"#Hollow #Knight" is a 2D action adventure platformer developed by Team Cherry. It has a large interconnected world and a focus on exploration and combat, also known as a Metroidvania.

From the second you begin the game, you’re met with an animated cutscene that shows off "Hollow Knight’s" cartoony aesthetic and dark atmosphere. It does a wonderful job of setting the game’s mood and lets you know exactly what to expect in Hollow Nest, the game’s setting.

Visuals

In a masterful stroke of artistry, the game manages to blend adorable and creepy in the same motion. Characters and enemies have designs that are easy to recognize that can make you go “aww” one moment, then shudder with discomfort in the next.

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However, the best part is that it all fits in the world that the developers have crafted.

The art style is incredibly clean as well, all the pieces are magnificently hand-drawn, thereby making the whole game a much more cinematic experience that helps with the overall immersion. The game’s use of color is some of the best I have seen in a very long time. The beginning area is covered in dark and somber looking shades of blue and white that set the scene of a lost and forgotten world. As you explore further, you’re treated with different palettes and splashes of color that evoke the nature, and in some cases, the danger of any given location.

Some of the notable areas during the early hours of “Hollow Knight” include the lush vegetation of Greenpath and the pink crystalline glow of the Crystal Peaks.

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The unique ambiance and color palette of “Hollow Knight’s” areas ensure that once you discover and explore any location, you know exactly what you’re in for.

Sound design

Incredible art style can only bring a game so far as it also needs stellar music and sound design to really bring out the audio-visual balance of aesthetic. Thankfully, "Hollow Knight" goes above and beyond that. The game’s soundtrack ranges from a fast and loud arrangement that will play during a particularly challenging section, to a soft and ambient track that will fill you with a fear of the dangers that lurk in the darkness below.

"Hollow Knight" also bravely incorporates another style of music that can define the game’s mood: dead silence. This gives you time to take in your surroundings while giving you a feeling of intrigue and worry as you trek further and explore what the world has to offer. Hollow Nest comes to life with such thoughtful melodies that keep you immersed and invested.

Gameplay

In “Hollow Knight,” you will be traversing Hollow Nest through methods like platforming, tricky jumps, and other movement skills unlocked later in the game.

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Thankfully the controls here are tight, responsive, and on point. By the end of the game, you'll be dodging, double jumping, slicing, shooting projectiles, and charging up attacks with ease and finesse.

Mechanically, you'll find most of the things you'd expect in the genre, but the one big difference here is the "Dark Souls"-like ghost you leave behind when dying. This ghost of your former self must be slain to regain the currency you were carrying when you died. Moreover, you’ll need to overcome your “dead self” to “fix” your orb in which you contain your “spirit”/mana. Every death you experience never feels cheap and can be easily avoided if you learn the attack patterns of enemies and bosses, which are by no means easy pushovers.

Summary

"Hollow Knight’s" true strength can be easily seen in its gameplay and design. Don’t be fooled by its adorable graphics, the initially limited colors, and understated opening music as you’ll be spending a good chunk of your time in your first playthrough. I currently have over 30 hours invested in the game and am still finding new things to discover. "Hollow Knight’s" size simply dwarfs that of many of its peers. The world is huge and interconnected in the most unexpected ways. Just when you think you’ve uncovered everything, it still manages to surprise you with a sense of discovery that will make you glad you spent that extra time uncovering those secrets. Similarly, there is actually a whole lot of completely optional content hidden in the game that you can tackle if you’re not contented with your initial exploration.These extra tidbits include more bosses, challenges, and items that come with some useful upgrades.

Final thoughts

I truly believe that what Team Cherry has done for “Hollow Knight” is nothing short of masterful. The way they handled the design and optional content is well worth studying for any hopeful and aspiring Metroidvania developer. The latest update of the game just released the first entry of a three-part DLC that will all be free. You can pick up the game for PC on Steam which is on sale until August 10th, while the Nintendo Switch version release has yet to be announced. #Game Review