Friday, December 14, 2018

Mulliga's Holiday Gift Guide, Part 2: Hollow Knight

The Hanukkah and Christmas seasons are upon us, so I thought it'd be fun to feature some great gift ideas for the geek, gamer, or gun guru in your life. 

The move to digital distribution has made "gifting" games easier than ever, especially for friends and family separated by long distances. It's also created a market for smaller, cheaper, and independent titles that would never see the light of day if they had to occupy a big box store shelf.

"Hollow Knight" is just such a game, and it makes an excellent stocking stuffer for someone who's a fan of side-scrolling open world action-adventures (i.e., "Metroidvanias"). You play as the Knight, a mute, cute insect-like swordsman exploring the ruins of an ancient underground kingdom. Along the way, you'll battle huge bosses, tackle tricky hazards, and get lost in the lore of the fallen kingdom.

There's nothing really groundbreaking about "Hollow Knight" in terms of gameplay, but developer Team Cherry did a superb job at executing on the Metroidvania formula. The platforming is tight and responsive and the artwork is gorgeous. Most important, though, is the feeling of discovery - just when you think you've seen everything there is to see, you unlock a huge new part of the subterranean labyrinth to explore.

The game's only shortcomings are mostly those inherent in the genre - there's a fair bit of aimless wandering and backtracking required, and there isn't much of a story here, either. If the gamer in your life can deal with those drawbacks, he or she will love "Hollow Knight."

Rating: 90/100


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