Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition Reviews

  • RadicalSniper99RadicalSniper992,181,739
    07 Mar 2019
    21 1 2
    I'm sitting here trying to figure out the best way to talk about Hollow Knight and why I am giving the game a 5 out of 5. There's so many factors here that I feel merit positive discussion. As a result, this might be a bit meandering, but I hope my points still come across.

    First up, let's talk about the game itself.

    Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania Platformer title. You control the Knight. He traverses the world on a quest with his trusty nail (a sword). Across your adventure you will find upgrades to your basic self as well as a bunch of new abilities to help you traverse the world. It was developed by a very small team named Team Cherry. The game has received a few updates/DLC which were part of the baseline release here on Xbox One. The price of everything - $15.

    That's the simple portion to discuss. For those of you familiar with Metroidvania games, you know what to expect. You'll venture around the map and find countless obstacles that you can't advance past without finding an upgrade. You'll be building a mental map of what you had to skip so when you do finally acquire the proper upgrade, you can return to that area and advance or collect what was locked behind.

    Hollow Knight does not hold your hand. While the game starts easy enough, it quickly is willing to destroy you at every turn. Basic enemies start off being minor annoyances, but will eventually be just as dangerous as some of the bosses. Bosses are almost immediately a true danger to you. Each one is about you learning patterns and finding your timing for when to strike. The game also makes sure to give platforming challenges that will push your understanding of mechanics throughout. The game really does shift between these 3 main mechanics:

    1) Exploration
    2) Combat
    3) Platforming

    I know this phrase is overused and thus has lost much of it's meaning, but a lot of people talk about Hollow Knight as a "2D Dark Souls" based on the difficulty. In many ways, this isn't too far off. Death in Hollow Knight will leave evidence of where you died. You lose a very important currency for dying. There is an oppressive atmosphere and story where much of the lore is hidden to the play and requires a lot of additional work to find. I get the comparison even if I think it's unnecessary to be brought up all the time just because a game is "hard".


    Before getting into my own time with the game, I just want to make sure people understand how worthwhile this game is for the price. At $15, I easily got my money's worth already. A common refrain, when it comes to games on the ID@Xbox program at least, people love to make is about whether or not a game can or should charge a particular price. I've understood the value proposition some times and others disagreed. When it comes to Hollow Knight however, the price is really a no-brainer. The amount of content is well worth the price of admission (and this game has been on sale numerous times in the less than a year the game has been available on Xbox One).

    So what's my experience with the game (so far) at least?

    I've spent over 50 hours playing the game. And all of that is on a single save file. It probably could have been a lot quicker (using the walkthrough here on TA would have likely helped), but I enjoyed the ability to just explore the game and find things as I went. I streamed this game for the whole playthrough really. It was difficult to wait for my normal stream days as each time I stopped, my mind was already planning and considering what I could next.

    I became engrossed in the fights and the environments. I found areas I loved to go back to and others that I feared having to go around (looking at you Deepnest angry). As I finished the bulk of the playthrough, I began to research more about the bosses and what I was doing right or wrong. I looked into strategies that I hadn't considered. Why? Because the game had captured me so well. Each boss became a new challenge I just had to overcome. And knowing there are still more things to do keeps me wanting to go back.

    Before I continue gushing about the game, I do want to do a short aside about the achievements. While I love the game currently, the fact that this is an achievement site means it's worth some mention.

    Achievements? How brutal are they? That completion percentage and high ratio must mean it's hard.

    Really, Hollow Knight has a difficult list. Just completing the main story won't really put a sizable dent into the gamerscore available. You'll be able to get a lot of the achievements, but it's the late game content that really starts to reward you there. And what this really comes down to is a few of the more difficult tasks you have:

    1) Speedrun
    2) Steel Soul - Deathless (although this can be cheesed in a pretty easy way to make this rather trivial)
    3) Pantheons

    The first two are more about building a baseline ability (I won't say they're easy, just that you can work up to them). They can be mapped and learned in ways that are possible for many players. In reality, it's the Pantheon, or Boss Rush, system that is really the true obstacle of this game. So far, I have completed 4 of the 5 Pantheons. My completion of the 4th Pantheon in particular was hours of practice between the run up to the final boss of it as well the final boss of the pantheon (so many deaths, so sad cry). And I'm still a ways away from the 5th Pantheon - a full run with every boss in the game. Not that I'm complaining, but for completionists this game will be a tough hill to climb.


    The game runs and controls very smoothly. When it comes to platforming, a game lives and dies by how responsive it is. Luckily, this was never an issue for Hollow Knight. Each mistake or death was my own. It was more about me building an understanding and execution. Just watching my own VOD's from streaming, I laugh at how silly some of my early mistakes were and how important it was when I built the skill.

    Any complaints?

    I don't have any major ones really. The game does it's genre and gaming proud. If you're not a Metroidvania fan or absolutely hate platformers, it might not appeal to you or change your mind about those genres. As always, this genre (metroidvania) is slow. If you don't know where to go or what you're missing, it can be frustrating to wander aimlessly and not unlock new things. Because a lot of progress is locked by bosses, it can also really be demoralizing if you're not able to beat one that blocks a required item. These aren't so much negatives for me as I enjoy the struggle and learning, but others could be turned off by the difficulty.


    Overall, Hollow Knight is a truly amazing experience. I'd recommend not missing out on this. It is clearly one of the best games I've played from the ID@Xbox program and even performs better than much of the AAA scene today. This game clearly has the polish and refinement you'd expect from a major publisher but at a very reasonable price and done by an Indie studio. As a testament to it, when I complete games on my Xbox One, I immediately delete them usually. This game has already got a space on my hard drive that I won't remove ever even once I hit the 100%. It really is that amazing and worth your time.
    Showing both comments.
    jamurayHi there! I couldn't agree more with you about how generous this game is. I got it through game pass but feel like I will buy it full (though extremely low) price in the end. It is such a rewarding experience and the progression is compelling. A powerful game still 3 years after its release.
    Posted by jamuray On 08 Jul 19 at 09:05
    XellizJust finished 100% (minus the glitched unobtainable achievement) Bloodstained. These two games are so distinctly different. Bloodstained felt like a game that wanted you to play and have fun and find its secrets. Hollow Knight feels like a game that wants to frustrate constantly. The tiny attack range (at least early, not sure if it gets better), the dark souls style death punishment, the knockback when YOU attack, precious currency that just flies all over the screen.

    I loved Bloodstained, Castlevania SOTN and Shadow Complex...this game...for me, is not fun.
    Posted by Xelliz On 14 Jul 19 at 23:24
  • StudioCorpseStudioCorpse493,211
    09 Feb 2021
    1 1 0
    There is no way to talk about this game without ruining the experience, for those familiar with the Dark Souls series and played through them, they know that the more you go in blind, the richer and better your experience. Hollow Knight is the same.

    This game is outstandingly beautiful, the art is so pure that you can't but help take a moments to breathe it in, every area is soaked in awe with hand painted visuals and the cleanest polish to world design you can see your reflection in it.

    On your journey you will come across areas like you are playing Metriod or Castlevania, you'll encounter high challenge enemies that demand you to be always aware of your surroundings akin to Dark Souls or Cuphead and you will uncover rich lore, loveable characters, breathtaking environments and a need to want to know more, to see more like you are playing Video Games at it's purest.

    This game easily has 100+ hours of content that never really gets stale due to the beautiful visuals and high demand challenge gameplay. This game being 15 quid is a steal, especially the Voidheart Edition, you get way more bang for your buck.

    This game is often classified as a Soulslike Metriodvania and it's safe to say, it's one of the only ones I can confidently say "Perfects both these formulas" while being confident in it's own identity.

    My best review is that you should buy and play this game, if you have gamepass, download it while it's one that service. I feel I'd be doing this game a disservice by exploring the lore, the in-depth mechanics of combat and explaining the overall story... just play it for yourself and get lost in the world of Hollownest.
  • AwesomeSUpaFLYAwesomeSUpaFLY249,516
    21 Jul 2020 21 Jul 2020
    1 1 0
    Someone at work had drawn a picture of Hollow Knight on our white erase-board a few years back when this game out. At the time, I looked at the picture and thought , "What a dumb thing to put up at work. So unfocused..." I quickly dismissed it as irrelevant and nonsensical. My coworkers, however; piqued my interest enough for me to look up some up reviews on Youtube. There began the descent into obsession with what I personally would consider one of the best games of the decade...Shout-out to Youtuber Mossbag for great Hollow Knight Lore videos.

    Being the achievement hunters that we all are, we can all attest to wasting hours of our life for some absurd achievements (Gears anyone??). I can proudly say I have maintained that tradition with Hollow Knight. A total of 120+ hrs is what it took me to complete the game along with all the DLC. Never have I trembled and feared during playing a game like I did during the last boss of the 5th Pantheon. Pure unadulterated fear and anxiety. So if you're asking "why is this guy rambling and is this damn game any good!?" The answer is yes...omg yes. I enjoyed every hour of that pain.

    Hollow Knight is a 2D platformer that incorporates Metriodvania exploration/ progression, with masterful combat reminiscent of... you guessed it, Dark Souls. You are dropped into the bug world called Hallownest as the Knight with no clue where to go. Your choice of right or left. Its refreshing in that regard, but after running through the first ten minutes of the game you realize there is little help for you through this world. The overworld is vast and each section challenging with enemies that threaten your will to continue. Also, each time you die (and you will die), there is a little bit of you that literally wants to kill you. The ghost is accompanied by a haunting tune to notify you of its intentions. The music in this game is such ear candy.

    Developers Team Cherry, consisted of two people and outsourced composition to a third party member, Christopher Larkin. The music in this game is entrancing, harrowing and emotes all the right sentiments as needed. Take the Greenpath section, laced with greenery and foliage. Larkin instituted soft and subtle tones that evoke peaceful tranquility associated with the green stuff. Its a delightful stroll the the garden until you hit that boss. The shriek and shrill coupled with the stark uptick in tone gives the player no question whether they are in for a tough battle.

    The combat my friends is where this masterpiece truly shines. You wield a weapon referred to as "nail" which can be upgraded over time. It basically operates as a sword. You acquire charms that provide buffs along with different magic perks. They combine for great combinations with real thought going into how you want your build to play. The controls are simple but tight. They are oh so tight. Tight enough for you to bounce a quarter off of them, tight like a chipmunk's... you know...Just tight! That means all deaths are on you. Each boss is masterfully designed and unique (The Mantis Sisters are a revelation). When you learn the pattern and complete no-hit runs on them as necessary for the completion of the GodMaster DLC...I truly don't know if any game has made feel more like a BA.

    Lastly, the mysterious story ultimately leaves you feeling oppressed, sad and mostly confused by the end. The lore and plot are largely implied with little revealed to you through cut-scenes, but mostly through exploration and NPC dialogue. The abandoned world you explore lends itself perfectly to this theme. Its on you the player to interpret it as you see fit.

    Team Cherry out did themselves, oh and did I mention its only 15 bucks! Go steal some money from your mom and buy it.