Launched last year on Steam, Hollow Knight has found its way to the Nintendo Switch. It’s a hard-as-nails Metroidvania title that’s been critically acclaim, making it a standout arrival in the Switch’s indie collection. Australian developer Team Cherry worked quickly to turn it around for Nintendo, so let’s step into this atmospheric, eerie, charming, beautiful world and revel in the deathly hollows.
You star as a silent knight, who’s also hollow, as he sets out to discover the creepy abandoned world of Hollownest. It’s a labyrinth maze of enemies and caves in which you’ll find all manner of swag, plus the Metroidvania genre trope of skilling up to advance into new areas.
As you shuffle along, you’ll be bowled over by the utterly gorgeous hand drawn artistic style. There’s a melancholic blue throughout, set against greys and blacks that are never dreary – this is interspersed by flashes of colour, making it stunning to look at. This is all complemented by an equally gorgeous and haunting soundtrack.
But what of the gameplay? It’s an engaging 2D platformer, no doubts, with the usual rewarding metroidvania elements we’ve seen in titles such as Ori and the Blind Forest. Team Cherry has aimed for major heights with Hollow Knight and seasoned gamers will find it riveting, but there is one big issue for those looking for a quick gaming blast (the “casual” gamers, as we hate to call it).
What’s that? The bloody difficulty. We ran into this with Runner3 recently, a game so irritatingly difficult the developers are now working on a patch to add in an easy mode. Some indie devs know how to get this right – Vanilla Gorilla perfected the difficulty for the utterly charming Yoku’s Island Express, but Hollow Knight has ignored an easy option entirely in favour of full-on NES-era frustrations.
If you’re happy to take on the challenge, this is an immensely rewarding and enjoyable experience. It’s also a further indication of how essential the indie scene is for the modern games industry – the level of creativity is sensational. Just expect to get yourself whooped by it as you plunge into the depths of this haunting, beautiful, crushingly difficult world.
Gods & Glory
On a final note, Team Cherry has been working on some DLC titled Gods & Glory. This is actually the third one they’ve done so far, as well as providing updates here and there to streamline the game, so fans have something new to look forward to later in 2018. On a final, final note, the game is only available on PC and Switch at the moment, so PS4 and Xbox One owners will have to wait a bit longer. Noobie scum!