You Were Right: 'Hollow Knight' Is Incredible


For the last year, you've been sending us emails, tweets, DMs, and texts telling us over and over again two important facts: 1. Hollow Knight is very, very good. 2. It is exactly our type of video game. And in response, over and over again, we've done two things: 1. Thanked you politely for your perspectives. 2. Found excuses to ignore the game until it released on Switch.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


As someone who played the game a lot when it came to PC.

Yeah waiting for the Switch port was the right move, I got it on the Switch and it just feels so right.


Some people might say that Hollow Knight was the second best game of 2017.


Y’all: you get the sense that something is going to turn or go wrong.

Me: Aww, I hope you ran into Myla. Myla is so cute. Such a good NPC. Such a good little song. What a great character. Nothing bad could ever happen to Myla.


Is that other recent example of not-Rare-speak from Pyre maybe? They did the same ‘couple of spoken words from a fake language’ thing really effectively too


Yup, exactly right!


I’m sure there’s a specific term for “not-Rare-speak” and it’s killing me that I can’t remember what it is.

Also, Hollow Knight does have the Souls-esque wandering NPC stories, though not all of them are failable quests in the Souls sense. In some cases you’re only missing out on dialogue if you don’t see them. There are some more traditional side quests too.


Finished this past weekend with a little over 20 hours. The Dark Souls influence is really strong, but more than that it’s an incredibly solid riff of 2D Metroid that makes me question whether Nintendo really needs to do any more of those themselves.

Though one area that undermined that was probably the White Palace. It’s a really hokey Super Meat Boy platforming challenge area that undermines the whole grounded aesthetic of the game.


It’s me, i’m the person who loves the White Palace and the Path of Pain. Give me a metroidvania that’s all exploration and platforming with no bosses whatsoever.


‘Hollow Knight’ is good but it’d have been way better if they didn’t bother with the Geo economy at all. It was an arbitrarily way extend the play time and an excuse to have something to lose on death to pull on the ‘Dark Souls’ vibes. There were more than enough boss encounters without rewards that could have provided all the shop items, or at least a non-volatile currency.

There are also numerous times the game struggled with the ‘Tease, Teach, Test’ formula for on-boarding players to new mechanics and provide aspirational goals. Especially with the use of ‘Hornet’ a character that has a completely different move set and abilities than the player. If the ‘chase’ sequences were used to teach players abilities by showing ‘Hornet’ perform moves it would have been a pure improvement.

The map/fast travel systems were really bad when I played in August 2017


Undertale did really great fake talking with the humming characters did. It worked so well for me I thought during the Nintendo Direct trailer “oh, they got Sans’ voice actor for this” then remembered how dumb I was.

Celeste had this kind of babbling too and that was adorable too.


I agree with this, but for different reasons: that geo is just currency, and that is so much thematically weaker than losing Souls and Humanity. It feels arbitrary to me for that reason, particularly considering that when you die in Hollow Knight you also lose some of your Soul meter, which can be enough reason to retrieve your Shade on its own. I wish they’d foregrounded that mechanic, since it adds to the worldbuilding, whereas “you drop all your coins” doesn’t and actually distracts the player from the narrative implications.


When Austin was talking about the 2017 game that did fantasy language really well, I couldn’t help but think of Pyre, which is my favorite example of spoken fantasy language in games.


Thinking about E3, maybe I missed it, but apparently Serious Sam 4 was on the floor being shown? I don’t think I’ve heard anyone mention it in E3 roundups, though. Did anyone get their hands on it?


999 on the ds also had differently pitched beeps for character dialogue, which ended up being pretty affecting for me. I can hear the character “voices” in my head, even though they technically never spoke


I don’t think so. Appointments for it were hands-off demos. The developers said it was still pretty early, if I recall correctly.


Oh, I had no idea. I played on PS4 when it was all voiced. Cool.


I was one of the people who waited for Hollow Knight on switch, and I keep seeing people say that it’s the perfect game for the system…but I don’t know if I’m going to play handheld again. The game looks so pretty on a big screen and the soundtrack is so good. Sure the option to play handheld is a bonus but I’m probably just gonna wait to play it on my TV.


Gravity Rush has a fantastic made-up language as well. It’s not quite Rare-babble since there are consistent and identifiable words. The best video example is actually the anime prelude to GR2:


Hollow Knight is a fantastically expansive and beautiful game, both in its visuals and music.

Its also let down by many quality of life improvements that only increase the amount of time you spend traipsing around the environment - e.g the aforementioned Geo, especially as the sellable items shop is a good 5-10 minute trek on a fairly useless fast-travel system. The hidden-map idea is interesting, but the maps are so complex and so detailed that you can miss important junctions or even the map vendor themselves.

I did enjoy my time with it quite a lot, but I wonder how much of the game’s design was let down by its adherence to the wishes of fans/backers. Optional super-difficult bosses (it wasn’t evident they were optional at first) and a ‘true’ ending boss felt made for masocore addicts, which I’m sure came from a much more hardcore or streaming audience that made up the backers. I’ve only ever had 1 other game where I have utterly given up trying to finish it due to its difficulty and that really left a sour note.