Game Mechanics Analysis: Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight title screen correlating with the release of the Lifeblood expansion.

Hollow Knight is a metroidvania game developed and published by Team Cherry in 2017. It follows the journey of a bug who has been called to explore the ancient kingdom of Hallownest, now lying in ruins beneath the surface.

One of the more unique mechanics in Hollow Knight is its charm system. Different charms give the player different abilities, such as faster speed, more health, stronger attacks, and even weirder things like offensive miasmas and hordes of baby spiders that attack things for you. You have a limited amount of charm notches, only gaining a couple more as the game progresses, so you have to pick and choose your charms carefully. Generally, the more charm notches a charm costs, the more powerful its effect is.

A statue found in one of the biggest areas of the game, the City of Tears.

One of the main draws of Hollow Knight is its story. In an effort to remain relatively spoiler-free in these analyses, I will cover what I can without giving too much away. Part of the mystery and intrigue of the game is uncovering the horrors of Hallownest’s past for yourself, and I’d hate to deprive any future player of that opportunity.

Typical battle encounter. Things try to hit you, you hit back, rinse and repeat. There are numerous abilities and spells that can be unlocked the more you explore the world.
Sometimes when you’re exploring, you’ll find friendly NPCs, like Quirrel.

The world, both within Hallownest and beyond, is a dangerous place. As you start the game, you are equipped with nothing but your nail and a drive to keep moving forward. As you progress, you uncover what turned the world into the wreck it currently is, and meet a whole host of NPCs that help to flesh out the lore. Some are nice. Some are not so nice. Some know nothing, and some know more than they’re letting on. It’s up to you to figure out who is who.

Promo art for the Godmaster expansion.
Promo art for the Grimm Troupe expansion.

Hollow Knight has had four expansions added on since its release (Hidden Dreams, Grimm Troupe, Lifeblood, and Godmaster), all of which could be obtained for free. A sequel, Hollow Knight: Silksong, is set for an unknown release sometime within the next few years.

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One thought on “Game Mechanics Analysis: Hollow Knight

  1. Hi Madison, after I read your introduction of Hollow Knight, it seems like a popular and interesting game! by the way, is it a computer game or mobile game? are you going to use it as part of your project? Even though I haven’t played it before, but really looking forward to seeing it.

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