July 12, 2017 7:58 PM   Subscribe

Hollow Knight's Charming Art Sets the Bar for Hand Drawn Games [PC Gamer] “I've been obsessed with indie metroidvania Hollow Knight [Release Trailer] [Beneath and Beyond Trailer] since its launch late last month. Apart from having fun and challenging combat and a massive amount of game to explore, I've found myself sucked in by the moody, Dark Souls-inspired setting developer Team Cherry has created. Despite a mostly monotone dark color palette, the dank corridors of Hallownest still feel vibrant thanks to how Hollow Knight mixes fantastic hand drawn art with more modern effects. It's a lot of little things all coming together that make Hollow Knight look so good, many of which you may not actively notice. It's a 2D game with 2D animations, but Team Cherry's use of dynamic lighting, shadows, and particle effects do a huge amount of work to solidify those 2D sketches and make them feel real in whatever space they're in. And while the character designs are relatively clean and simple, animation fills them with personality. ”

• Hollow from the Other Side, I Must Have Died a Thousand Times [Destructoid]
“Speaking of not being spoon fed, Hollow Knight encourages you to go explore as you wish. Most areas of the map are accessible early on, with certain areas in them only being accessible after acquiring items and abilities elsewhere. This meant that by the time I'd reached the credits for the first time, which took me 27 well-spent hours, I was pretty comfortable navigating most of the kingdom without looking at my map. Backtracking to areas I'd been never felt tedious. Along the way I'd be killing enemies to collect Geo, the in-game currency, as well as discovering previously unreachable areas and secrets, including a slew of challenging bosses. Bosses aren't pushovers, even with grinding to get some of the better equipment to help out. Reflexes are definitely put to the test, especially considering most bosses are unique in their move sets, meaning each of the 30 boss battles provide a whole new challenge to overcome. Players that get frustrated easily might be turned off by some of the difficulty, but I never found any of the bosses to be unfair in their tactics.”
• Hollow Knight is Full of Bugs [Metro]
“Like all Metroidvanias, you start out with very little in the way of equipment, weapons, or abilities and must instead earn them as you progress. So while you’re free to explore the game world however you want, many areas will be inaccessible until you have the proper tools to do so. Hollow Knight makes things more difficult than usual though, by refusing to give you any map or compass to point you in the right direction. Instead you have to buy maps from friendly bugs and work out your own plan for exploration. Hollow Knight is not an easy game, but despite the parallels with Dark Souls et al. it’s not punishingly hard to the same degree. Death can come quickly during combat but it’s fast and enjoyable, with a great sense of impact courtesy of the excellent animation and sound effects. The boss battles are particularly good, with a wide variety in enemy designs and the techniques needed to defeat them. The platform design is generally good too, although the overreliance on a difficult-to-pull-off downward slash is the game’s most consistent point of frustration.”
• Hollow Knight Feels Too Familiar, Despite Being a Solid Metroidvania [Rock Paper Shotgun]
“I began by alluding to its weaknesses and perhaps now I name them you’ll take umbrage. Hollow Knight takes core features of the genre and then tries to tell you they’re special. Like, perhaps at its most egregious, your position on a map. Maps are tricky enough here, with new zones not possible to even map as you explore them – you have to buy or find a pre-created map to even bring up the map screen for an area, and then fill in the dotted lines of where you’ve yet to explore. Quite why your character can’t know that they just walked down a path and went left I’m not sure, but that’s how it is. You can spend long stretches aimlessly stumbling around until you find your way out. But on top of this, to see where your character is on a map when you have one is considered a feature, a special ability gained by purchasing it from a shop and then using one of your precious ability slots to implement it. A basic standard of the genre, locked up behind a purchase and a skill use. So, so weird. So rather than enjoying a burgeoning pool of abilities, you’re restricted to however many ability slots you have, and choosing between them.”
• Watch Me Map 30 hours of Metroidvania Exploration in 30 Seconds [PC Gamer]
“It has an intricate and massive map, full of gated areas and secrets hidden behind tantalizing gaps just a bit too wide to jump. But as the game goes on, new movement abilities break that sprawling city wide open. As games like this often do, dead ends suddenly become new paths, and gaining something as simple as a double jump means countless pits can now be cleared. Countless, that is, unless you count them. Which I did. About six hours into my 35 hour playthrough of Hollow Knight, I started to lose track of all the places I'd been. I had so many different paths I could follow, that finding a new movement ability mostly meant struggling to remember all the places I could use it. So, inspired partly by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's map, I started to take notes on a custom map of my own in Adobe Photoshop. Across 30 hours of Hollow Knight, here is what the evolution of that map looks like.”
• Hollow Knight (Original Soundtrack) by Christopher Larkin [Bandcamp]
“Beneath the fading town of Dirtmouth sleeps an ancient, forgotten kingdom. Many are drawn beneath the surface, searching for riches, or glory, or answers to old secrets. Descend into Hallownest, traverse the depths, unravel its mysteries and conquer its evils. The score for Hollow Knight captures the vast underground world of the game. The story begins with soft piano notes echoing the Hollow Knight theme, and as the player explores further, orchestral forces swell to an operatic scale as the fate of the knight unfolds.”
posted by Fizz (6 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Whoa, this looks gorgeous. My arthritis is too bad for me to play games with this much twitchy reflex movement, but I bet my son will love this.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:04 PM on July 12, 2017

While I was creating this post a fairly large spider crawled up the wall beside me and stopped on a Salvador Dali poster. I used an old copy of Frank Herbert's Dune to kill the spider. I don't know what this means but it felt like it was worth sharing. Symbolism or something. This game is amazing.
posted by Fizz at 8:07 PM on July 12, 2017 [5 favorites]

It's a good game. I'm terrible at it but it's a really solid game. I absolutely love the soundtrack.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:23 PM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

My daughter adores this game; it's joining Undertale and Binding of Isaac in "games that are on her laptop screen when I ask for help getting a coffee."

She says it's amazing and is sorry it has mechanics that I'm terrible at. She also recommends Let's Plays to anyone who loves the graphics and soundtrack but can't play it.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:13 AM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

ErisLordFreedom, has your daughter checked out Owlboy? [Previously.] Based on the games you listed, it might be up her alley.
posted by Fizz at 12:11 PM on July 13, 2017

I love this game. It is beautiful and fantastically difficult. I was off gaming for years until my wife was out of town for a few days and I succumbed to Hollow Knight. 100 hours of gameplay later I had finished enough of it to feel satisfied.

Oh no now that I read this I'll have to start playing it again.
posted by dis_integration at 8:48 PM on July 13, 2017

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