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Duffman

Hollow Knight

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I've played this before on PC but double dipped on Switch.

 

 

If you like Metroid style games, you need to play this. This is a 2D Metroidvania game with a general focus on Melee combat. You start with a very limited set of options - just sword slashes and that's about it, but as you go you'll learn spells and new abilities that let you visit more and more of the map. What sets the game apart is how well designed everything is. All the areas feel really detailed and interesting to explore, with literally hundreds of enemy types ensuring each zone is unique. The level design is challenging and varied rather than being a trudge like other Metroidvanias can be (cough axiom verge cough). All the areas just flow so well, and the whole thing is really atmospheric.

 

As well as abilities, you have charms which can be equipped. There's a lot to find, and each charm takes up a certain number of slots. As you progress through the game you'll earn charms and slots so you can specialise more and more. The charms are anything from faster healing, to faster sword strikes, to greater sword reach, to reduced time between dodges, and so on. You can really create your own little play style with them.

 

Healing is handled through the Soul mechanic. Every hit you land with your sword will give you Soul, filling up a gauge on the left of your screen. You can hold down a button to deplete the soul guage and heal yourself, but you'll need to hold it for roughly a second before you actually get health back, leaving you open to getting hit again. If you get hit while trying to heal, you'll also waste any soul that was spent attempting it, so there's a real risk reward to it. Some charms will give you damage resistance while trying to heal, or make you heal faster, though. Soul is also what powers your magic abilities - you can spend 1/3 of your guage for a powerful ranged attack, for example. You can make the guage bigger as you play through the game, too. Same for your life guage.

 

The game's map mechanics are interesting too. At first, you have no map. Soon you'll meet a dude who'll sell you a map for the area you're in, but it's only partially complete - there's plenty of areas not shown. What's more, the map doesn't tell you where you are on it. But return to town and you'll be able to buy a charm that shows you where you are, and a quill. With the quill, every time you visit a save point (benches), you'll scribble in detail on the map, until you have a full map of an area. It makes entering a new area feel a little intimidating, as you have no map at all initially, even if you visit a bench. Your first goal is always to find the guy who'll sell you one to get started with.

 

Though the Dark Souls comparison is overused these days, it's quite appropriate here. The most obvious way is currency. Everything you kill drops Geo, and you use Geo with merchants to buy stuff - new charms, important items, and so on. If you die, you lose all your Geo, but leave behind a spirit. You'll reappear at the last bench you visited, and if you return to where you died, you can defeat your spirit to get all your Geo back. Until you defeat your spirit, you'll also have your Soul guage reduced by a third (though there are other ways to get your spirit back...). Additionally the game's story is very much obscured - there's few cutscenes, and most NPCs speak cryptically about the world. And side quests and NPCs function similarly too - sometimes you'll meet one and they'll move on and you'll meet them later, but if you didn't help them, they'll be gone for good. Others will relocate to the game's town when you meet them and open shops. Others will stay where they are. Many are quite hidden. It really rewards thorough exploration.

 

It's a really good game, and huge to boot. At least 30 hours in all likelihood. Plus it's only £10.99 on Switch and includes all the DLC.

Edited by Duffman

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Will be picking it up but Yoku's Island Express is bloody good!

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I am 4 - 5 hours in, but am completely lost as to where to go next. I am really liking it though.

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Finished Yoku (definitely recommend it) and started this. Bit slow to start then once I'd found the map and compass things got going. Really enjoying it!

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Yoku does look cool. I have just checked online, and I managed to miss a massive area and the next boss, so I am itching to get back home so I can play some more.

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Yeah, I am seriously into this game. I got stuck for a bit on one boss, but once I got past him I have started to make loads of progress. The combat is just so tight, that even when a boss is difficult, you always feel like you are close to beating them.

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