Hollow Knight is a hand-drawn 2D Metroidvania developed and published by independent Australian developer Team Cherry, after a successful Kickstarter campaign. It was released in February 2017 for PC via Steam. It was A Nintendo Switch port was released on June 12, 2018. A version with the subsequent free updates called Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 25, 2018. The concept behind Hollow Knight was originally conceived in 2013 in the Ludum Dare game jam. Team Cherry wanted to create a game inspired by older platformers that replicated the explorational aspects of its influences. Inspirations for the game include Faxanadu, Metroid, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and Mega Man X.
Here's a story summary, long ago, a great and powerful being known only as the Pale King once ruled over Hallownest, a vast and ancient land of bugkind buried deep underground. Though long fallen to ruin after a dimly remembered catastrophe, explorers and thieves still brave its dark roads, its caverns, and towers, searching for riches and wonders. Lately, though, something has changed. Villagers and explorers venturing into the caverns have stopped returning. The caverns throb and tremble with savage energy that sends creatures mad with rage and robs explorers of their memories.
As the enigmatic knight, players journey through the fallen kingdom of Hallownest in search of their origins, finding new areas, challenging several enemies and bosses, and gaining new abilities along their travels. The game is a platformer focused on exploration, featuring simple but fairly hectic melee combat and finding and equipping several ability-enhancing charms to augment the protagonist. The world is very open-ended, and acquiring a new power often opens up several new areas to explore in classic Metroidvania fashion. There's also a heavy focus on boss battles, with unique and challenging mandatory bosses plus over a dozen extra bosses in obscure places, with more extra challenges for the dedicated player. Like Souls games, the story is usually explored in pieces of lore and flavor text spread throughout the kingdom.
Over the course of its update history, the game has released four free expansion packs. The first, Hidden Dreams, was released on August 3rd 2017, being mostly a slight tweak to the base game that added in some new bosses and features. The second, The Grimm Troupe, was released on October 26th, 2017. It added a side quest that can be explored in the middle of the game and several new items and characters. The third, Lifeblood, was released on April 20, 2018. It focused entirely on optimizations to the game and some quality-of-life updates to features, such as allowing players to place their own map markers. The fourth and last free update, Godmaster, was released on August 23, 2018. It adds a new area explicitly devoted to a series of Boss Rushes, culminating in a gauntlet that has the player face off against every single boss in the game, with two new endings from besting the ultimate challenge.
Hollow Knight was well received by critics, with particular praise for its combat and difficulty level. By December 2020, the game had sold 3 million copies. A sequel, Hollow Knight: Silksong, is currently in development.
Standing in the Battledome
Hollow Knight is decently powerful. Most characters can destroy walls, stone pillars and metal posts, shake an entire chamber, obliterate a whole floor, and cause tremors. The best feat is upon the Hollow Knight's awakening; he shakes the entire Hallownest kingdom while creating a dense fog that also consumes Hallownest. There is also The Pale King's large form as a Wyrm who burrowed his way through mountains to arrive in Hallownest.
Their speed is around supersonic. Most characters can generate sonic booms and minor air distortions. Though it's debatable for the top tier characters being lightspeed. You have several minor characters and obstacles firing beams of light. Said light is referred to as light, travels in a straight line, burns on contact and reflects and refracts. Plus, the Radiance generates consecutive light, most likely with the sun's power. The Knight is capable of moving out of the way or dodging. Probably aim-dodging.
The universe has a substance called Soul, an arcane life force that animates creatures and can be found in the air itself. Soul can be used to cast spells, and the Knight (and all of the inhabitants) can absorb Soul either by taking it by force by other creatures by striking them. It's a combination of energy manipulation and soul manipulation. The Knight can use this to phase through walls or fire energy blasts that phase through inanimate objects. Most characters have strong resistance against this. There is another energy source called Essence, fragments of light that dreams and memories are composed of. Essence can also take the shape of those who have died. The Knight has been given a talisman to use, the Dream Nail, which creates an ethereal nail that transcends the physical plane, and cuts through the veil that separates the waking world from dreams. The Knight can use it on people (corpses included) and objects to read thoughts, enter their memories or dream realms, and gain Souls without killing or injuring anyone. The Dream Realm in the Hollow Knight universe is a plane beyond the physical world, a space between body and soul containing eternal dreams and memories of beings. Dreams can take shape in the waking world, such as Spirits via ghosts and the Whispering Roots. You also have the Dreamers, three beings that can BFR people into the Dream Realm. There is the Nightmare Essence, which takes the form of flames instead of light, is unique to the Nightmare Realm and the Grimm Troupe.
You have the Higher Beings that are god-like creatures that reside in the kingdom of Hallownest (might be others around the world) that exist above all others with particular abilities and powers common bugs don't have. The Pale King of Hallownest is a Wyrm that is described as a being of light and was able to expand the minds of bugs, giving them sapience. He has the power of foresight, and his power still lingers on even after his death. The Radiance, another Higher Being who created the Moth Tribe and ruled over parts of Hallownest before the Pale King arrived. Her light is described to be brighter than the light from Essence, the substance that dreams are made of. After Hallownest almost entirely forgot her, she started exerting her power through dreams of bugs that led to the Infection. There are characters with strong resistance to this Infection, like The Knight, Hornet and The Hollow Knight (before he became a seal for The Radiance). The Infection corrupts minds. In the Dream Realm, The Radiance seems to be the sun. It's unclear if she even has a physical form anymore, but The Knight can enter other characters' dreams and is physically there.
There is the Void that opposes the light and is referred to as darkness or shadow. This also means that the Void opposes the Higher Beings, such as the Radiance and the Pale King, who are described as light. The Void has potential when it unifies. The Pale King and the White Lady spawned Vessels that are beings of the Void and are Higher Beings. They also stated to have two souls, though Jinn also stated that The Knight has no soul. The Knight is a Vessel; they were able to obtain the Void Heart and unify the Void. With the Void unified, The Knight was able to defeat the Infection. The Knight and other Vessels physical forms can come back to life after death. This leaves behind a Shade an echo of their previous life that they can absorb back into themselves. Shades are their original forms, a liquid substance that can't truly die as long as the Void exists.
There have been debates if the inhabitants of Hollow Knight are bug size or human size. There is more evidence leading to human size. However, you might wonder why there are weapons called nails and needles, most likely an artistic choice.
Supporters of the Series
- Papa Nier
- Stocking Anarchy (TTGL)
- The Knight
- Nailmaster Mato
- Nailmaster Oro
- Nailmaster Sheo
- The Pale King
- False Knight
- Mantis Lords
- Soul Master
- Broken Vessel
- Traitor Lord
- The Hollow Knight
- The Radiance
- Troupe Master Grimm