Hollow Knight Beta Impressions

This article was originally published at Another-Castle.com

Actually quite substantial

Hollow Knight is an upcoming action/adventure platformer that was successfully funded on Kickstarter in late 2014. The title is being developed by Adelaide-based Team Cherry. The Beta was released earlier this month and Another Castle was given access.

While I have a great fondness for platformers and enjoy the sub-genre now commonly referred to as “Metroidvania”, I wasn’t very interested in Hollow Knight at first glance. This is perhaps more due to the dark artistic style than the genre as I generally prefer my platformers to be colourful with blue skies, green grass and ideally – almost sickeningly cute protagonists. That’s not to say I don’t like dwelling in dungeons, caverns and coal mines, I just prefer there to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Hollow Knight may or may not have that light, but the Beta at least shows a very dark and disturbed world.

Hollow Knight is set within Hallownest, an underground world of caverns and dilapidated buildings with hints of a lost civilisation.  Despite the dark theme, many of the enemies and characters I encountered were rather cute. While it is only a brief look at the full game, the Beta gives players a good look at what is intended for the full game with places to explore, enemies to vanquish and a quirky cast of characters to interact with.

One immediate problem I had and one that will no doubt be fixed was with my 360 gamepad. For some reason when I moved left, the knight would continue to even after letting go of the stick. I first thought it might be just my controller but after trying a different USB port and trying multiple different games, it is definitely unique to the Hollow Knight Beta. I noticed at least one comment on the Kickstarter page having a similar issue as well. While a Beta play is designed to find such issues, I have to be upfront that it seriously affected my initial impressions of the game.

Apart from this issue, I quite enjoyed what I could of the Beta – especially when heading right. The controls were easy to learn and fighting the various enemies (including one boss I encountered) felt rewarding if not initially challenging. Health is lost on each hit but can be restored using items collected from enemies that fill a jar icon. The recharge needs to be activated and can\’t easily be done while enemies are around. This means that when low on health, you\’ll either have to retreat or defeat the enemies before you can restore lost health. The overview on the Kickstarter page mentions Zelda 2 on NES as an influence which I\’ve always personally considered superior to the original. There is certainly an element of Zelda as well as Metroid but  I would say Hollow Knight is more like what would happen if a knight from Castle Crashers fell into the world of LIMBO and that should certainly be considered a positive.

As this is a Beta, I’m reluctant to offer up much criticism but then, I honestly don’t have any major issue with the game outside of my controller problem. The game seems to be coming together well and I look forward to seeing the completed product when it’s released. If you’re interested then you can find out further information about Hollow Knight on their Kickstarter page or at the Team Cherry website.

Disclosure: Staff writer Kaes has previously written about the project and is a friend of one of the developers. I am from Adelaide and wish the developers well but I do not know them personally. I did vote for the project on Steam Greenlight but I haven’t backed it on Kickstarter or through other means. And just to make things entirely open, a number of our community members did vote for the project on Greenlight and back the Kickstarter.  

September, 2015

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One Response to Hollow Knight Beta Impressions

  1. Pingback: Video Game Reviews & Articles | The Essential Malady

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