Impressively lengthy metroidvania with a gradual challenge.

User Rating: 9 | Hollow Knight PC

As a fan of side-scrollers I can definitely say I've played my far share of metroidvanias. Hollow Knight makes a clearly unique mark for itself in this genre filled with classics. Two of the things that stand out the most about this game is it's length and difficulty. Hollow Knight can be anywhere between 24 to 30 hours depending on if you just play through the main story-line or go for more of a completionist run. Much of the challenge in this game can be compared to Dark Souls; e.g. requiring the player to go back the place of their death if they doesn't want to lose all the money they had on them. The moderate difficulty combined with a massive map to explore goes to show why this is such a lengthy and fulfilling experience. If everything so far has your interested piqued lets dive into the finer details.

For those who aren't familiar with metroidvanias this genre is based in exploration. There are over twelve different zones each with unique enemies, obstacles, and layouts. As you explore you'll find many areas blocked off or unreachable that you must come back to later in the game after unlocking certain powers. Your knight will continue becoming more and more mobile while continuously learning a series of new attacks and spells. You will also find around 40 different charms that will have an array of different effects that change or enhance your abilities. Each charm requires so many notches to equip with more powerful charms requiring more space. Charm notches can be found and bought thought-out the game letting you equip a greater number of and/or more powerful charms.

Your knight can only take so many hits but as you play you'll find mask fragments which will eventually make him tougher. The same goes for your soul meter which allows you to heal and cast spells. Usually you can only recover soul by damaging the enemies. Being able to heal is incredibly important since you'll drop your ever valuable Geo if you die. Geo is the currency you get as you defeat monsters and it is necessary for buying charms, opening shortcuts, and purchasing maps. As mentioned earlier you can go back to the place of your death and defeat your ghost to get all your Geo back.

The fact that this is a fairly lengthy game makes for very smooth progression not only of the story-line but of your own abilities. As you progress you will often find yourself exploring stages and encountering bosses that force you to use new abilities or specific tactics. The bosses often have specific patterns to learn that will usually go through three or so stages of increasing difficulty before they are defeated. By the time you get to the late game content you'll be amazed at how far your reflexes have developed. I myself was amazed that I was able to overcome some of the incredibly challenging content needed for the best ending. However, after playing for over 25 hours I had been training myself the whole time to take on these most extreme obstacles.

Anyone who enjoys overcoming challenges along with those with an itch for exploration are really in for a treat. Although this game is fairly though don't let that discourage you. Most of the really brutal stuff isn't necessary for completing the game. That being said the standard ending is a little haunting and won't leave you satisfied. Since you'll nearly get two hours of entertainment (maybe a little frustration too) for every dollar you spend you know you'll definitely at least be getting great value for your money. I almost forgot to mention too just how beautiful this game is. The simple color scheme combined with the detailed creatures and backgrounds is utterly enthralling. There isn't much else to say, the array of quality content in Hollow Knight speaks for itself.