A atmospheric and moody metroidvania game where you play as a little masked creature in a dark and mysterious world full of bugs. A uniquely challenging approach to mapping out the vast world and a huge number of enemy types, makes for a satisfying feeling of exploration, at times becoming tense in a way that is reminiscent of the Souls series.
I got the compass and a variety of pins, so the map is more useful now. I beat the two bosses that killed me before, the big club guy and the crazy mosquito. It seems there is a Dark Souls-style Hollowing curse going on, where bugs are being taken over, forgetting who they are, and are gradually turned into monsters.
I started exploring Greenpath, and I got the scary feeling you also get from the Dark Souls games, that you're exploring a dangerous unknown, and you're unsure if you're going to reach the next continue point. Pretty cool. I found the map guy, so now I'm starting to map it out. I'm using blue and red pins to mark map locations with an area I can't explore yet, due to a missing ability, Metroidvania style. I accidentally discovered Fog Canyon, but there was a black barrier that I was afraid to go through, having only one hit point, so I went back.
The Ducktales-style downwards attack is fun and allows you to jump over stuff as long as you can hit something.
I also found the Hunter who gave me a log of enemies killed, with extra information unlocking with more kills, similarly to Moria and Angband.
I was killed by a big knight guy who was sitting in a pile of leaves. I should kill him so I can proceed.
I defeated the Moss Knight without too much trouble, and he then turned out to be a new standard enemy. I also defeated Hornet, the needle-wielding ninja bug, who ran away and will probably be important later.
Exploring Greenpath in more detail, I went into Fog Canyon and reached Queen's Station, where I found a Bank and unlocked another fast travel point. I equipped the Stalwart Shell and used it to defeat two giant mushroom dudes and got a Charm Notch, which is like getting an extra ring slot in Dark Souls. Very exciting.
I found Leg Eater, a gross blind bug that sells some weird Charms. The Fragile Greed, which costs 250 Geo, should increase the amount of Geo you get. I heard that you run out of stuff to buy, but right now I wish I were making more money so I could buy a few more upgrades.
Apparently, equipment that is 'fragile' breaks upon death but can be repaired by Leg Eater. Fragile Strength seems awesome, it gives you 50% extra damage!
It took me a whole lot of tries, made more frustrating by the path to retrying the boss being long and spiky, but I finally beat the three Mantis dudes and now have the respect of the Mantises. Fun boss fight, though, it reminded me of the Zangetsu boss fight in Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon.
There is something deeply unsettling to me about the bugs that slowly lose their mind. It is represented well enough in this game to make me shy away from the areas themed around that. It is particularly prevalent in the zombified miners of Crystal Peak. I've now gotten the Crystal Heart, which allows me to make a horizontal dash of infinite length.
I found my first Pale Ore in the Ancient Basin, I should go to the Nailsmith and upgrade.
Upgraded to the Channelled Nail. The next upgrade takes 2000 Geo and 2 Pale Ore.
Nailmaster Sheo in Greenpath tought me the 'Great Slash' Nail Art, and Salubra (slug merchant in Forgotten Crossroads) upgraded my Charm Notches. I need one charm more and I can buy another Notch for 900 Geo.
I explored the Royal Waterways with the crazy larvae that gets cut in half and then turn into two horrible screaming half creatures, and got Isma's Tear, which allows me to swim in acid. I also bought another Charm Notch from Salubra. The final notch she sells is 1400 Geo, and with a requirement of 25 charms.
Pale Ore from Hallownest's Crown at the top of Crystal Peak,
Pale Ore in Deepnest, left of the Hot Spring, the nail can now be upgraded for 2000 Geo,
The King's Brand from the top right of Kingdom's Edge.
I got the two Pale Ore and upgraded the nail. I ventured into Deepnest, which was a dark nightmarish labyrinth filled with all sorts of spider monstrocities. The bug-infested tunnels generated a strong feeling of claustrophobia, along with a creeping dread provided by the music, which was excellent in this area. The encounter with my 'twin' was great, and reminded me of Prince of Persia, except in this case, there was an even darker twist.
I defeated Hornet again and got the King's Brand, which should open some gates. I found the Tower of Love in the City of Tears (which sounds like a cheesy love song), but need some special key. I explored Fog Canyon and looked for the map maker, but couldn't reach him because of a 'Shade Gate', a black barrier. I should go to The Abyss, use the King's Brand to open a gate, and get the Shade Cloak, which should allow me through the Shade Gates.
I went down into The Abyss, an area that reminded me a lot of 'Chasm of the Abyss' from the Dark Souls expansion, with its black-and-white soul enemies. I collected the Shade Cloak from a Metroid Chozo statue-looking thing. I defeated the ghost of Markoth and collected more Essence, I now have 634. I went back to Fog Canyon, thinking that I needed the Shade Cloak to find Cornifer the map maker, but I actually didn't, I had just missed him. It was great to find him, and I found him again in the Queen's Gardens.
Notes about the ending: The game has multiple endings, but the save game can be reloaded after the ending, and you can keep playing and get the other endings. However, ending 1: 'The Hollow Knight' can only be gotten if you haven't acquired the 'Void Heart', which is located at the left side of The Abyss. I should go for the first ending before getting that.
Get the Shopkeeper's Key in Crystal Peak, close to where I fought the Crystal Guardian, the laser-beam crystal boss.
Give the Shopkeeper's Key to Sly in Dirtmouth and buy stuff, including an Elegant Key for an area in Soul Sanctum in City of Tears, where you can get the Shade Soul spell.
Get the Tram Pass in the Failed Tramway in Deepnest.
Go see the Seer in the Resting Grounds and get stuff for Essence.
When I have 25 charms, go see Salubra in Forgotten Crossroads and buy another Charm Notch.
I should go to City of Tears and use an elevator to get to The Pleasure House, and unlock it with a Simple Key.
I got the Shopkeeper's Key, the Elegant Key, the Shade Soul spell, saw the Seer, and found the Pleasure House. I have 25 charms, so I'll go see Salubra, and then to Deepnest for the Tram Pass. Also, when I have 700 Essence (I'm just missing 3!), I should go see the Seer again.
I went to Deepnest and found the Tram Ticket, which allowed access to a new area in Kingdom's Edge. I found Bardoon, an awesome bloated creature who gave a huge information dump about the state of the world. He told me I bore the mark of Wyrm, which according to the Hollow Knight wikia is the King's Brand, from which we can infer that the Wyrm is the King. He says that the Kingdom's Edge is the grave of the Wyrm (The King), but death for an ancient being is possibly less permanent, but more of a transformation. He says The Kingdom is the product of what was spawned from the transformation. I take it to be that the corruption that infects the inhabitants is the product of the new form of The Wyrm. He says that the creatures are unified, but without thought, so the corruption unifies all the creatures, but in a mindless, instinctual state. This all sounds like something out of 'Werewolf: The Apocalypse'.
My current goal is getting the final upgrade for the Nail. I have one Pale Ore, and need two more. One of them is obtained from completing the second trial in the Colosseum of Fools in Kingdom's Edge. The other is obtained from the Grubfather from rescuing 31 Grubs. I'll go to Dirthmouth first and visit the Grubfather and then go beat the two trials. I should also drop by Resting Grounds on the way, to visit the Seer.
I believe I have rescued 27 Grubs, so I need 4 more to get Pale Ore from the Grubfather.
I defeated Trial of the Warrior, ending with an anticlimactic 'battle' with Zote the Mighty. After that I beat the Trial of the Conqueror, which was tricky, especially the sequence where you couldn't touch the ground.
Next up is getting some more Grubs. I should go to The Tower of Love and see The Collector, who has a map of the Grubs. I'll need the Love Key, which is hidden in the south east of the Queen's Gardens.
I defeated The Collector, found a couple of well-hidden Grubs, and got the Pale Ore from The Grubfather. I went to see The Nailsmith, who upgraded my nail to its final form. After that, he wanted me to strike him down, so I did. A bit sad.
I think I'm ready for the end game now. I'm going to seek out the three Dreamers.
completed the game.
The Teacher in Fog Canyon was the first Dreamer. There was a boss fight with a big jellyfish, where Quirrel showed up and helped. The second Dreamer was in Distant Village, a cool sequence where I was captured on a bench and trapped inside the Beast's Den, a spidery maze. The Dreamer turned out to be the mother of Hornet, who is apparently a spider. Finally, I found a passage in the City of Tears, where there was a fight with a bunch of Watcher Knights. I had dreaded this moment, because I had heard other people speak of it, but it wasn't too bad in my powered up state. The third Dreamer was atop a tower with a looking glass that reminded me of a certain sequence in Another World. With all three Dreamers defeated, I entered the Temple of the Black Egg and fought The Hollow Knight and won. I got the ending where I was trapped in the temple, replacing The Hollow Knight.
I got 78% completion, and I have played for 32:49:38.
I restarted the game and rescued Bretta, and entered the Queen's Gardens and tried fighting the Traitor Lord again. The difficulty of that fight combined with an extremely annoying boss run made me give up for today. Apparently, if I save the NPC Cloth in Ancient Basin, she will help in this fight.