Indie / Metroidvania / PC

Symphony of the Hollow Knight

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I had better titles for the post, but it’s a Metroidvania with excellent music. Admit it, I could have done worse.

From just the first couple of hours, unless something goes horribly wrong, this is on par with Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight. [That was a surprisingly well done Metroidvania from 2016 that you should totally go play after you check this out.] Good bosses, plenty of areas to explore, powerups to uncover, and Dark Souls influence? Uhh…I’m not sure how I missed this the day it came out. Team Cherry’s Kickstarter success may have passed me right by, but now you don’t have that excuse.

As I explored the bug world of Hollownest I remembered how comforting a good Castlevania riff can be. I went through a town and checked out all of the new upgrades I could buy, looking at the beautifully drawn characters and lively backdrops. I jumped down into a cavern and took down a huge boss with some well timed swings and dodges, to be rewarded with a new ability and tons of money to spend at my discretion… so long as I made it back to town without falling in battle.

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The mechanics here are familiar enough. If you die you have to do a corpse run to get all of your stuff back before you die again. The healing mechanic, however, is something new. When you defeat any enemy, your “ability” meter fills slightly. This meter is shared between healing and using special powers, so deciding when to do which is a task you’re forced to juggle in the toughest of fights. I’m still very early on, but this system seems super interesting and I’m excited to see how well it works as the difficulty increases.

The entire game feels extremely well put together from top to bottom. The sound design of the waterfalls in the distance rushing through a cavern make for good ambience as you read your map or swap around upgrades at a rest spot. The music in the forest area made me feel like I was running through a Disney movie. I’ve seen comparisons of the art style to Cuphead, which while I’m not 100% sold on it being that close… the quality isn’t far off.

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If you’re up for trekking through a mysterious world of insects, check out Hollow Knight on Team Cherry’s site.

P.S. – Can we all agree that the health bar looks like the first and second piece of health are connected somehow? I know it’s just like…the visual design behind making the icon look like swooshy bug hair…but it’s weird, right? Okay I’m done.

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