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Review: Hollow Knight

"The source of the catchiest humming known to insect-kind"

In Hollow Knight, you take on the role of a small, mute bug with a fierce sword-like nail and a destiny of unknown proportions ahead of you. Before you lies the town of Dirtmouth, where a friendly elder recites to you the history of the people that abandoned this place. Below, lies the Hollownest: a sprawling maze, a kingdom in ruin, inhabited by monstrous insects, shambling bugs, carnivorous plants and others, much like yourself, seeking to delve deep into the rich mysteries below.

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Hollow Knight is a game that perfectly nails down it's theme and story in a way that simply sweeps the player in and, at least for me, resulted in a days long binge of playtime. Games like Metroid and Castlevania serve as clear inspiration here, with some ideas mixed in from games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne. However, where other games that have tried to mix these elements (I'm looking at you, Salt and Sanctuary) have gone too deep, tried too hard to emulate their predecessors, Hollow Knight instead takes just what it needs to enrich its theme and gameplay, and discards the rest as chaff.

The result is an absolute pleasure to play. Snappy, intuitive controls. Quick, fierce combat that just strikes the perfect balance between punishing and rewarding. Varied enemies that take full advantage of the theme and setting, as well as the layout of the intricately detailed levels. I couldn't get enough of this!

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And then there's the other thing that brings this game together: the sounds. Echoing caverns, the rustle of vegetation, the skittering of tiny insect legs in the dark, the snatches of song that indicate the presence of an old friend, the cutting slash of a nail that gives you the perfect sense that your attack just connected. All of the above is enveloped in a lovely musical score that gives your journey through Hollownest a feel of place, as every single area of the game has its own, unique score.

I could rave on about all the little details this game has to offer, the clever tricks it pulls and the numerous optional bosses, or how it's ultra-hard steel soul mode, unlocked on game completion, will put even the most hardcore gamer to the test, but I feel like I've said enough.

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Hollow Knight is a game I cannot think of a reason not to recommend. It is easily one of my top 3 games of 2017 so far, and has a secure place in my top 10 games of all time.

Additionally, at the time of writing it seems the developers plan to add four expansions to the game, free of charge. The first of these expansions was out by the time I bought the game, but I look forward to the other three and plan to revisit this game several times over.

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PLAY - THIS - GAME!

Playtime: 20+ hours (Single playthrough)

Visual

10

Audio

9

Story

9

Gameplay

10

Overall

> 10 <

Normal retail price at time of writing: 14,99 €

Recommended for purchase at normal retail price: Absolutely yes

Recommended for purchase at reduced price: Absolutely yes