As someone who spent countless hours getting lost and absolutely frustrated before dying and losing every sense of place in the original Metroid video game for the NES, I’ve typically taken a rather hesitant stance toward games of that ilk, typically referred to as Metroid-vania. While I can appreciate games that don’t hold a linear path, I also like to have a bit more of a clue of what I’m supposed to do next, a mission, anything that lets me know that I’m going the right way.
And in the vein of games which don’t give you much for information, and much less in the way of actual mission paths, comes Hollow Knight, a Metroid-style game set in the world of bugs.
But, while I would get completely lost and confused in the original Metroid, absolutely lacking any form of reason for feeling like I was moving in any way forward, Hollow Knight does a much better job of giving those little milestones on a much more regular basis so you can feel like you’ve done something.
It might help, slightly, that there is a map.
While this game can be absolutely punishing at times, giving you boss fights which, while fun, sometimes seem as though you could never complete them, there’s so much charm and mystery surrounding everything that you can’t help but want to find out the next piece of the puzzle, working to figure out why you’ve made it to this new area and what new powerup you may unlock there.
There were a few times in which I most definitely considered giving up out of pure frustration, and once or twice where I checked a walkthrough to see what I was missing to be able to move forward, but on the whole, I felt a lot more like I was making progress as I explored the tunnels of Hallownest.
It wasn’t quite as much fun as, say, Guacamelee, but it’s most definitely worth a try.
So much so, that I’m still considering getting back into the game to try to unlock some of the other endings.
Look, it’s fun, but, you know, getting lost sucks.