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Blakey

Hollow Knight

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Continuing my Indie binge with Hollow Knight.

 

Heard lots of good things about this game earlier this year and saw a Let's Play from Easy Allies of the first two-ish hours of it, has been on my Steam wishlist ever since.

 

For those that don't know, it's an Indie Metroidvania game set in an eerie melancholic bug-world.

 

I've enjoyed it quite a lot, being new to the Metroidvania genre I didn't really know what to expect, I've seen an awful lot of great indie Metroidvania games and kind of got turned off them in the past as there's just so many, I'm glad I gave this a go though because it's now a genre I'd like to explore more.

 

For starters it doesn't hold your hand at all, you get a very brief control tutorial and are then left to explore the world. It doesn't explain anything at all, and if I hadn't of watched the EZA Let's Play I would've been a bit lost on where to go and what to do, luckily that gave me a brief idea. It was still a bit disconcerting exploring areas and not knowing where the fuck you are in the slightest, no map, no idea where the next Rest point is, no idea where the entrance to the next area is or anything though.

 

Luckily you realise how the map system works pretty early on and then discover a vendor to add new areas to it, mark your location on the map etc. All incredibly useful. The gameplay loop is pretty similar to Souls I guess, if you die you loose all your 'Geo', you get Geo by killing enemies. The most innovative mechanic is that when you kill enemies you get souls that you then use to replenish your health, which adds to the whole risk/reward system of the game as it makes you want to attack more in combat in order to get more Souls to heal in the heat of a battle, it is a balance at times as your Soul supply can be used for other things too.

 

You use a small sword for the combat (called a 'nail') which enabled you to hit enemies in any 360 degree direction, there's a lot of enemy variety on offer, when you go into a new area you have to learn their mannerisms all over again, there's a few areas with traps for you to fall into (similar to Souls) too, it always feels fresh and involving. It has that Souls feeling about it to about worrying where the next save point is, knowing you've got 1000+ Geo on you and whether to venture into the next area where a boss may be waiting or head back to a previous area and save.

 

I won't give too much away but new mechanics are introduced as you go along that unlock new locales, one changes the platforming significantly and one changes the combat to a significant degree as well, the game never points you to these so presumably you could go the entire game without discovering them. There's also a system similar to the rings in Souls where you can get slightly more Souls when you defeat an enemy, a bit more health etc. but the slots are incredibly limited at this time meaning you have to choose very wisely which you want to equip.

 

The game looks absolutely stunning, it has a really unique art-design about it, it's cartoonish but the backgrounds and levels managed to look realistic and give a very lived-in, ancient kind of vibe. By far and away the best thing about the game is the music though, it is just absolutely incredible and makes the each area feel special and meaningful, when you go to your first town and a certain song plays it's just so melancholic and haunting at the same time, it really is very special. The noises the characters you meet along the way make are fantastic too, they put so much personality in them just from gibberish and grunts.

 

A few pics:

 

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Played another 6 hours since my last post.

 

Really got into the meat of the game now, unlocked a few more abilities which makes it a rock-hard platformer at times too.

 

Kept exploring in the 'Fungal Wastes' area and eventually encountered a village littered with Praying Mantis insect Knights, this in turn gave me a new ability which meant I could now grip walls and jump between them at will, very handy indeed.

 

One section I had tremendous difficulty with yesterday called 'Soul Sanctum', this dark Castlevania-esque area with rain tumbling down the windows of an ornate/gothic Orangery , reminded me a bit of Bloodborne too.

 

Anyway, this area was the first real difficulty spike I'd encountered, it featured these enemies which not only throw fireballs at you but can teleport around the room to their hearts content, which means you can jump to attack them, they'll teleport to another spot and hit with you a fireball. Went through this area over and over again first trying to find a knack to defeating these teleporting arseholes, then attempting to defeat the mini-boss of the area, lost a ton of Geo in the process unfortunately but managed to do it eventually. Ventured on and found the boss of this area 'Soul Master', took me about 3 or 4 tries, thought I defeated him once but then discovered he had a second phase (my excitement then turned to surprise), defeated him on my next try.

 

This gave me another new ability where I could slam down into the floor and break unstable surfaces, I already knew of an area early in the game that had one of these unstable floors so I made me way back there and discovered 'Crystal Peak'. What I love most about this game is reaching the new areas and getting utterly lost, once you've got the map and you know exactly where everything is it takes some of the charm away for me, getting lost and having to memorise a path from a nearby rest area to wherever you think you need to go is just fantastic. Explored all I could here and picked up a new ability which meant I could fly along huge gaps.

 

Had quite a bit of Geo on me so made my way back to the bank near Queen's Station. As I approached I felt something was off, when I reached the vendor's window there was no one there, I thought what the fuck? I had 2500 Geo in there that I was just about to withdraw to get a lantern -_- Panicking I decided to hit the booth, for it to fall down like a piece of paper, I'D BEEN HAD! The banker had nicked all my money! I honestly couldn't believe it, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry really, I thought it was so damn cool the game gave you a mechanic where you could save your Geo unlike the Souls games etc. and then for it to all be taken away AND for some character in the game to of STOLEN MY GEO was fantastically hilarious, incredibly cheeky and enraging at the same time. I'll put a disclaimer at the bottom so folks don't get done in the same way!

 

* IF YOU PLAY THIS GAME DO NOT USE THE BANK

 

 

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4 hours into this now.  It's been very good so far. I think the difficulty level/level of risk-reward with these kind of games is really important, and Hollow Knight's is nicely balanced. I haven't really encountered anything that I would call bad design in the game. I like the healing mechanic. The game looks fantastic as you can see from the pictures Blakey posted. I love the character designs in the game, and the stag coaches. So far the game has been really fun to play and it has that compulsive quality where you just want to see what's in the next room, and then the next...

 

Spoiler

I've beaten the boss in the second area that gives you the dashing ability, and discovered the next area (I've forgotten the name, the place with the jellyfish type enemies), but before pushing on I think I'll give the first two areas another look over.

 

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This game is sublime. 9 hours in now. Every time I play I'm discovering new areas, new NPCs, new items, new abilities. I've been playing it twice a day and I could probably play it three times. 2017 has been an excellent year for indie games.

 

Spoiler

The music in the City of Tears is beauitful.

 

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19 hours now, for a game I played €9 for. Still plenty left to do, still discovering new areas, new bosses

 

Still only on 8/54 achievements though! This game goes on my stingy list! 

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This game is massive. Up to 23 hours now which makes it my 9th game on Steam over 20 hours. But I'm nowhere near finished.

 

Spoiler

I've discovered two new areas where the enemies are quite tough, so I suspect these are two of the harder/final areas in the game, the Queen's Garden (which branches off from Fog Canyon) and the Ancient Basin (accessible from the Royal Waterways). But the next area I'll probably focus on is the area to the east called Kingdom's Edge.

 

Aside from these areas, I have some other unfinished business like the Mantis Lords boss fight and those special warrior challenges that you can take on (I've done a couple). 

 

 

There's always lots to do in this game. And so far I have refrained from googling anything, so I don't know anything beyond what I have seen.

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I amn't really posting spoilers other than the names of areas but anyway:

 

Spoiler

Explored a big chunk of Kingdom's Edge, found the trainer that teaches you the dash attack (I've found all three trainers now) and also found the  coliseum in the north of this area. But other than that, I don't think I can continue to explore this area until I find the ability that allows me to jump high (or possibly fly, I'm not sure). There's quite a few areas now where I need some kind of high jump to progress (Crystal Peak, City of Tears (the area near King's Station) and Kingdom's Edge).

 

This ability is more than likely in one of the areas I mentioned above, the Queen's Garden or the Ancient Basin, so I'll have to explore those next. I also need an ability to navigate past those black vortex type thingies. Of course it's also possible that one of these abilities is a reward for beating the Mantis Lords boss fight, but I don't think so. That fight feels too optional to me.

 

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Made good progress today. It sounds ridiculous to say it but this is almost the most Dark Souls game we've had since the original Dark Souls. Although difficulty-wise the game probably starts off too easy to draw any comparisons with Dark Souls, it isn't long before the death count starts creeping up and making progress becomes somewhat comparable to Dark Souls. And the world is so reminiscent of Dark Souls - you might not think it in the opening hour but this is a vast 30+ hour game with levels stretching in all directions. And the game does not tell you anything - this whole world with all its secrets is out there for you to find. It's an amazing achievement by Team Cherry.

 

Spoiler

Anyway, today I explored the Queen's Gardens. I found the Love Key which opens the tower between Kingdom's Edge and the King's Station, which leads to a boss fight. with an enemy called The Collector. After a couple of failed attempts I went back to the Queen's Gardens, and found (fell down into) not one but two new areas. The first is called the Deepnest, which I climbed back out of without exploring. The second area, the Beast's Den, I couldn't climb up from because the drop was too far, so I had to explore it. It was an area full of spiders with suitably disgusting sound effects... Well, in all honesty it wasn't that creepy but I did take out my headphones while playing it. To the best of my knowledge I managed to complete everything there, including finding my first of the three Dreamers. Anyway, now I'm back to exploring the Queen's Gardens.

 

 

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33 hours now. Just Dark Souls 3 and Divinity Original Sin ahead of it on Steam now. I've been playing this game for two weeks straight. Made some serious progress today.

 

Spoiler

First things first, I beat every one of the dream warriors (that I've found). That give me over 900 essence which gave me some good rewards, including the Pale Ore which the nailsmith was looking for to strengthen my nail, and the ability to open Dream Gates which allows me to set a warp point on the map - brilliant for not losing any progress while exploring, or for setting warp points outside boss battles, since the game does not have a battle restart system for boss battles. I set up a dream gate outside the Mantis Lords boss fight and beat them on my fourth or fifth attempt. The Mantis Lords are actually guarding another entrance to the Deepnest, which I'd earlier found by accident while exploring the Queen's Gardens.

 

Elsewhere, I explored more of Fog Canyon and found the Teacher's Archives, which contained an awesome boss fight where an NPC joined in. This lead to the "Teacher" which opened another seal in the Temple of the Black Egg. Just one more to go now. I'm not sure when (possibly finding the Teacher was the trigger) but the Forgotten Crossroads has now become the Infected Crossroads, which is another amazing touch in a game full of them. It's amazing the level of detail in the game, like the vendor in the store in Dirtmouth talks about how he has trinkets in his basement, and if you find all three Nail Arts and go into the store, you can actually go down into his basement to get an item from him, or the vendor in the City of Tears who randomly moves outside for "fresh air".

 

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45 hours now which makes this my most played game on Steam ever, and one of my most played games in a long, long time. Up to 25/54 achievements. Not finished yet though! Amazing game.

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Wrapped up a few bits and finished the game. There are battles that I could go back and do and I haven't found all the charms, among other things, but I'm happy for now. Finished with 86% completion. Like I said this is currently my most played game on Steam ever.

 

There are so many things I could say about this game. It's the best game that I've played so far this year. It's a game that I will include in any list of my favourite games ever (and there are not many games that I've played as an adult that I would say that about), it's quite possibly the best indie game that I've ever played. It's another amazing Kickstarter success story (especially when you read about the game's more humble origins). And so on. I love it. It's brilliant. You should buy it. I give it 10/10.

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Quote

Hollow Knight is getting its second major expansion this Halloween, which is on October 31 if the annual tradition of looting neighbours isn't your thing. Dubbed The Grimm Troupe, it'll add a major new quest, new boss fights, new charms, enemies and "friends".

 

According to Team Cherry's update, the new quest will involve lighting a nightmare lantern in order to summon a Grimm Troupe to Hallownest. "Take part in a twisted ritual that stretches the breadth of the kingdom and bestows the player with a powerful new ally," promises the description.

 

http://www.pcgamer.com/hollow-knight-will-get-its-second-expansion-this-halloween/

 

 

Awesome news. Ridiculously good game.

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I was expecting this to be more expensive than the tenner it actually is, so I bought the Switch version and put a couple of hours into it last night.

 

I can already tell which new abilities I’ll be getting soon, double jump has to be coming up shortly.

 

It’s good so far, not grabbing me like the best thing ever just yet, but it’s a Metroidvania, so I’m expecting that feeling to come after the new powers start to come.

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I'm proper lost at this point. Any tips on where to go would be handy!

Spoiler

 

So far I've cleaned out the female shop keeper that sells map stuff. I've got the dash and fireball abilities. I've unlocked the fast travel system to the main town, Forgotten Crossroads and Greenpath. I've killed 3 named bosses. Bought some more charms and increased my charm notches.

Found the merchant who will sell you random things like keys and eggs. Only had enough to buy an egg off him.

 

I'm not sure at this point if there's a location I should've found or I should be grinding to buy keys and stuff to unlock places.

 

 

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Went back to this after finishing Yoku and I’m making decent progress. Just got the wall jump ability, which is making travelling the world a much more pleasant experience.

Looks like I need to grind to get 1800 cash to buy a lantern, so might wander back through the early bits and see if there’s any new places I can get to now with the new ability.

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Made a bit more progress.

Finally defeated the Soul Master boss and got the ability to dive down and break platforms.

Looks like double jump should be next.

 

By the time I’d killed the boss, I had enough cash to buy the ultra expensive lamp so that’s another new area unlocked. Plus I bought a section of the mask so my health has gone up one notch. On top of that I’m using a charm that gives me more health once I’ve rested. And the charm that pulls loose cash over to you is pretty much essential at this point.

 

I’m digging it much more now that the moves I’ve unlocked are allowing for more enjoyable movement.

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Wow that’s crazy.

 

I lost a few hundred cash on a run to get my stuff back, which was frustrating but I made some more progress. 

Haven’t got a double jump yet but found a couple of nail moves, not sure how useful they will be yet as they involve charging up first.

 

I also got the massive dash which has opened up some more bits.

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On 6/30/2018 at 1:08 PM, radiofloyd said:

Has sold over a quarter of a million copies on the Switch in two weeks:

 

http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2018/06/hollow_knight_sold_over_a_quarter_of_a_million_copies_on_switch_in_two_weeks

 

Very happy for them.

 

Done so well that it’s the most downloaded Switch game for the whole of June.

 

I’ve unlocked some more places but it’s getting pretty tough now and not entirely sure the best way to go. I really need that double jump.

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I bought this on the Switch a couple of days ago and have played it constantly. About eight hours in now and absolutely love it. Challenging but I've never felt its unfair. Some cracking boss fights as well. 

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