Hollow Knight is an indie action platformer developed by Team Cherry which was recently released on the Nintendo Switch after its huge success on the PC. Set in the fictional kingdom of Hallownest, you control a tiny bug-like knight who wields a short sword and magical spells to defeat various hostile creatures taken over by a strange infection.
Rather than having a fixed story set in stone, the plot is slowly revealed through optional interactions with other characters and hidden areas in the environment. This lets the player experience a unique story of their own, and discover as much (or as little) as they wish. The surprisingly complicated backstory is a nice reward for those willing to spend the time to uncover it.
The gameplay mechanics are also solid, with the player having to master a variety of different skills to progress. Double-jumps, skill shots, and proper timing are par for the course in a platforming game, and the fairly high difficulty level will make you feel challenged and sometimes frustrated. However, the balance is done just right so you actually feel a sense of achievement when you finally get past a difficult boss or tough stage.
The muted art style is very different from the colourful worlds of many other platformers. The screen is usually dominated by a lot of dark colours, but it contributes to the overall serious atmosphere of the game world. However, the beautiful scenery and hand-drawn nature of the sprites make it a pleasure to explore and fight amongst the platforms and traps of the game environment.
The soundtrack by Christopher Larkin is great, and builds on the mood you need to tackle that tough area just one more time.
There’s some great after-game content too, with new areas and enhanced bosses adding more potential play time.
Overall, Hollow Knight is a treat for platformer fans who want something a little less cute.