Illustration for article titled Why did I wait so long with Hollow Knight?

I know, I know, I’m late to the party.

Which is really strange, because this game really ticks all the boxes for me.

  • Environmental and indirect storytelling? ✔
  • Massive in scope? ✔
  • Allows the player freedom in how to progress? ✔
  • Does not try to be Super Meat Boy? ✔ fuck off white palace
  • Presents multiple ways for the player to tackle challenges? ✔
  • Difficult, but fair bosses? ✔
  • Beautiful soundtrack? ✔

I could go on. There’s just so much about this game. However, for way too long I simply looked past it. Why did I do that? Let’s see if we can learn something from this.


I think it has to do with a combination of my own methodology when evaluating games and an artstyle that looks great while playing, but really doesn’t do the game much justice when it comes to individual frames.

If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that I’m strongly against watching video trailers. I find that they reveal too much about a game, which lessens the sense of wonder and uncertainty that I find to be crucial to the experience. Because of this, I only ever saw images of Hollow Knight before I actually played it, and images cannot properly convey the qualities that I mentioned above. Looking at their release trailer from february 2017, it actually does communicate many of the points I mentioned above.


I remember thinking the the game looked uninspired and derivative from other games in the same style that I’ve played. A lot of things look fairly bland when you compare them to Super Metroid or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The problem is that these are the giants people will compare you with when you make a game in this genre.

Compare this with, per example, Timespinner (which I am PSYCHED to dig into, by the way). All it took for Timespinner to get me interested was one single image, which, of course, in no small part is because I have a weak spot for the SNES/PSX era of pixelated graphics. Images from Hollow Knight, by comparison, tend to look kind of flat, except for in a number of specific areas.


Personally, going forward I’m going to try to find more .gif images of games that seem interesting. To me, they provide a good middle ground of showing both how the game looks in motion, while also not giving away too much.

As for producers?

Make more gifs and post them everywhere you can! Spam those suckers out on every media platform you can find. It’ll make a difference.


In all seriousness though, Hollow Knight is among the best games I’ve ever played. It is an absolute masterpiece, and if you haven’t sunk your teeth into it yet, just go for it. Go in blind, and just give it a go. You won’t regret it.

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