Help Me Finish Hollow Knight

Help Me Finish Hollow Knight
Screenshot: Team Cherry

In that dark, dark time before I fell in love with The Witcher 3, I asked you all to help me finish it. You gave me great advice that changed my gaming life. Today, I am here to ask for your assistance once again, with Hollow Knight.

Everyone loves Hollow Knight. I want to love Hollow Knight too! I recently started trying to play the game again (editor’s note: dear god “recently” was January, what is time), lured in by its beautiful art and intriguing mysteries, excited to curl up on my couch with my Switch and explore a new world. What I’ve seen of it so far is so pretty and interesting! But the game is so hard. It took me ages to beat the first boss fight against Hornet, and I’m sure it only gets harder from there.

Kotaku’s tips, while helpful, haven’t been enough to get me over my particular hurdle. The trouble is that I don’t really like boss fights. I tend to get frustrated and put down a game with them for the night, and then I struggle to bring myself back to the game because I know I have a boss fight waiting for me. I know a lot of people like boss fights, and I’m not against them on some kind of moral grounds. But once I solve the puzzle of how to beat a boss, I find it tedious to actually do, and the exhilarated determination of “one more try!” quickly gives way to annoyance. I find this especially tough in Hollow Knight, where I can lose all my gathered Geo currency if I rage quit without retrieving it. Trust me, I wish I weren’t like this too, but you gotta play the hand you’re dealt.

I’m currently somewhere in the Fungal Wastes, where — if I recall correctly — I fell through some troublesome areas due to my lousy platforming skills and the wonky Joy-Con I refuse to replace. (Whether one of the issues actually is my Joy-Con or whether I’m just blaming it for my video game failures has been one of the enduring questions of my quarantine gaming.) I suspect there’s a boss lurking nearby whom I’m sure will destroy me, but I’ve yet to work up the fortitude to boot up the game and check.

I wonder a lot if maybe Hollow Knight just isn’t for me, especially given my dislike of boss games. But then I see someone talking about it and I get sucked in all over again. Surely many of you know the secret to falling in love with Hollow Knight. Thank you in advance for braving the comment section to share that love with me.

Comments

  • I got stuck on the Hornet boss fight for the longest time and came back to it a few months later, managed to beat it on the first try. There are plenty more bosses but some aren’t as “random” feeling as the Hornet one, others just seem downright unfair but with some skill and luck and new abilities later it’s all possible to do. Some bosses require some chopping and changing of badges to find the right combination that suits you.

    Honestly I thought the same “maybe it’s just not the game for me” for a while too but ended up completing the game almost 100% (except Godhome stuff), and it’s cemented itself as one of my favourite games of all time. Getting past a hard boss for me is more “thank God it’s over, now I can finally explore more”.

    • The biggest tip I can give you is learn not to lose your cool when you get hit. The most jarring thing about hollow knight is when you get hit, the reaction on the screen is so violent and throws you that it can then lead to other mistakes. Learn to ignore that and keep your cool, and you should be fine. The game is actually quite easy for most of it. Just about learning patterns and timing. The only Real challenge is the final real boss gauntlet where you need to beat every boss in the game and then the true final boss in one go.

  • If your goal is just to finish it, you can actually skip a lot of boss fights. A surprising number of them are optional and not on the critical path. If you don’t mind spoilers, you could look up a map or guide and plan our your route through the game to encounter the least amount of bosses as possible.

    If you don’t want to do that, you can analyse where you are in the game after you lose to a boss and think “do I really need to go this way?”, and then see if there’s an alternative path. As an example (minor spoiler I guess), you don’t need to fight the Mantis Lords to get into Deepnest because there’s an alternative path you can find.

    On a side note, I don’t really understand how so many people seem to have issues with that first Hornet fight.

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