Dark Souls-inspired Metroidvania: Hollow Knight (the thread)


I love hollow knight so much i bought it twice - once on pc and again on Switch.

Its SUCH a good game, and really takes a lot of the best aspects of both souls-likes and metroidvanias without copying its mechanics wholesale from either.

a massive, interesting, and dark world with deep but often hidden storytelling. Enemies that require experimentation and knowledge to defeat, but that are fair in their patterns. Brutal bosses that reward a willingness for trial and error. Hardcore exploration with a multitude of hidden paths and secrets. Plenty of sequence breaks and movement tools. And to top it all off, it’s an INCREDIBLE speedrun game (please watch the speedrun once you beat it. its increidble.)

Hollow Knight is just enjoyable to play on every levell and at every speed, and while there are certainly a few frustrating design choices (Making a boss deal 2 hp instead of 1 is the lazy way to make things harder, cherry), they’re so few and far between that it doesnt really bother me at all.

Not to mention all this free extra content they’ve been handing out!!! we’re on the THIRD free update already, with one last one to come in the future, and an entire secondary campaign featuring a different playable character as paid dlc later on!! what a game.


I kept saying I would get around to this on PC, but the switch release combined with a plane trip were enough to convince me to finally buy in. I was expecting another middle of the road, mildly interesting Souls-inspired metroidvania in the vein of Salt & Sanctuary. What I got was a stunningly good game that has me absolutely enthralled. The gorgeous art, the beautiful soundtrack, the unwavering commitment to an interesting tone that lands between decaying melancholy (forgotten crossroads, city of tears, dirtmouth) and delightfully charming (Zote, the mapmaker, the bright colors), all have me absolutely floored. I’m planning to do a longer write-up on this game just for myself - I guess I’ll post it to the forums and see what people think when I get around to it.

Suffice to say, Hollow Knight is definitely among my favorite games that I’ve played this year so far (which also includes Breath of the Wild, because I bought my switch in February, so it has intense company!)


Ugh… You’re so right. Adding this to my massive list of reasons why I should buy a Switch ASAP.


I am increasingly displeased with the Joy-Cons. I have had a very hard time keeping my right thumb in place on the joystick in Enter the Gungeon, and pulling my left thumb down to use the pseudo D-pad (which is a fine D-pad, IMO!) is also painful. I am anxiously awaiting the release of this kickstarted slide-on grip.


That looks pretty cool, it definitely would be a big improvement over the current setup which has my fingers awkwardly craning and twitching to do anything complicated.


I have to mention how much I like the Zote arc in this game. Facing his final form in the dreams of the fangirl bug is such an amazing pay off.


I’ve also been digging into this game for the first time with the Switch release and enjoying my time so far. I do find it to be really fun, although I seem to be wired to do exactly the opposite of what is planned for me to do, having now explored one area to around 80-90% (I think) before meeting the map man and very likely to do it with another.

These being Fungal Wastes and Fog Canyon, respectively.

I’m a little lost on where to go next, so am just poking around the map right now and trying to figure it out. I feel like I was nudged away from diving into the belly of the Mantis Village by Quirrel, so I’m trying to see if there’s another area through Fog Canyon that I am meant to have found.


Playing through again reminded me just how much I love Quirrel.

If you are looking for a vague suggestion (and I’ll spoiler tag these if you’re not), there is a very useful item in the Mantis Village, but not the bottom of the Mantis Village (which Quirrel is warning you against), that you might need to move on from the point you’re at.

And still vague but in terms of where to explore, if you haven’t left the Fungal Wastes to the right yet, that might be something to try.


Mantis Village was a major bottleneck for me, but it’s worth the time and effort to push through. Admittedly, I ran into some performance issues when I was playing that area on the earliest PC version, so I’m sure that contributed to my problems. Best of luck out there!


The first was a good call, but I had grabbed the Mantis Claw and thought it was the reason that the floor fell out in the bottom, which is when Quirrel appears. I’ll check out that direction of exploration too – thanks for the hint!


I really do love love love this game, but replaying it just reminds me how much I loathe the death mechanic.

It feels horrible to lose a bunch of geo because I couldn’t replicate my previous attempt at a difficult platforming challenge.


There is a way to bypass that in Dirtmouth: There’s a merchant who will take rancid eggs and let you fight your shade in the relative safety of their room.


I sort of agree with you, but in the opposite direction. I think the death mechanic is a fair and interesting punishment, especially since you have the option to fairly easily retrieve your lost geo and freely bank it. But what I think does make that mechanic and the game in general stumble a bit is the platforming challenges. More than a few moments I nearly rage quit because of some crazy spiked wall I barely grazed or a pool of “water” I touched. Neither of those mistakes should be insta-kills IMO.


To be fair, they’re not, they just take a notch out of your health pool. Having to go back and challenge that section again can be tedious, but I generally feel that the checkpointing is really quite generous, especially compared to a game like VVVVVV or Environmental Station Alpha. Usually you’re only taken back by one-two jumps in a sequence and are put onto the last safe ground. Depending on how much prep you’ve done, you can go in with (even at base) a good 7-8 attempts before you die properly (5 from base health, up to 3 in your Soul shell).

That said, I could be still quite early I met Hornet in the City of Tears, went scouting in the rafters and found the Soul Sanctum (more info below), so it might get worse down the line. It can still be a bad feeling, especially when you end up stuck in the middle of a platforming section on your last legs.

Status update – after finding the Soul Sanctum, I went in far enough to find a boss (Soul Supreme or something like that?). I’m not sure if I should be taking them on yet, so I’m going to try and push through before routing around to the Mantis Village. If I can’t beat him on the next attempt, I might back out and just head to Mantis Village since I have this upgraded nail.


Interesting, I must’ve misremembered. Maybe what happened was it took me out of what I was doing and started me over, which is also not great. Taking health AND interrupting my attempt at a difficult traversal (especially if I’m nearly through it!) probably felt like a kill and that’s what I’m remembering.

This happened a bit, and made every movement feel dire and desperate. Coupled with computer performance issues was a terrible recipe at times.


Computer is also a really fair point – I’m playing on Switch, which doesn’t have any performance trouble (so far? at all?), which probably makes those sections feel a lot fairer!


Soul Master is one of the bosses that really just has a set of patterns and dodges you have to learn how to punish. He doesn’t necessarily become easier with new abilities (though nail upgrades will make the fight go faster), it’s more just learning his moves that makes that fight go. But if you feel like taking a break and coming back to him later, there are definitely other places you can go in the meantime.

And I agree—excluding certain late-game areas (that are themselves fairly optional), I always felt like the game’s approach to platforming was pretty forgiving. But then again I find replaying Celeste’s C-sides fun.

@pfail I remember having some weird input lag/performance issues on my laptop when I played it the first time and having to tweak graphics settings to get it to run smoothly. It’s definitely a bit more intensive on the hardware than most platformers.


I think Jiji is a real poor solution to this problem. Having to stop all forward momentum to go back to town is annoying at the best of time, and sometimes the stag station can be pretty far away, or you just flat don’t know where one is, like getting lost in the Deep Nest.


I’ve probably played 5-6 hours of the game at this point (thanks Steam Sale!) and I have to say I think I put a little bit too much stock in the “souls-inspired” comparisons. I still don’t think that’s a bad term for it, you can see it clearly, pretty much from the get-go. That said, it feels like they’ve essentially boiled down dark souls mechanically to where it feels more like I’m playing a precision rhythm game rather than being a medieval badass. Even if what I’m doing is not incredibly different between the 2d and 3d spaces–it just feels to lack effective methods of immersion for me. But I think it’s a flavor thing. I may just not be into “gamey” games, and may be more into games that try and hide their gaminess behind window dressing of some sort.


Doing post game content , at 92% complete and the roadblock to the other endings is now the White Palace. I’d be very surprised if this part wasn’t a homage to super meat boy, inexplicable buzz saws and all, and after many many attempts I don’t think I have the precision platformer skills (or patience) to get past this.