Written by Jonathan Wojcik

31 Spookiest Hollow Knight Creatures



Hollow Knight is, somehow, close to three years old at the time of this writing, and still I had never really gotten around to discussing it much. It's one of those things that almost felt too "on the nose." Something with so many things I liked that it felt kind of overwhelming, maybe even a little too wistful to think about it too much; a reminder of the kind of projects I wish I knew how to organize myself, and one of those things I kind of spent most of my life never realizing I missed.

It's a game in which virtually every single character is an adorable, yet satisfyingly alien looking arthropod in a gorgeously animated, dreamlike setting with a gothic horror twist. From its premise to its visual execution, it is quite simply one of the most perfect games to ever exist, and I say that having still never physically played it myself, as I so rarely play any games anymore when I can just watch my spouse play and absorb them like extremely long, slightly more surreal movies.

For those of you not totally familiar with this one, the player takes on the role of a nameless and mysterious knight exploring the kingdom of Hallownest, which is in the process of falling apart under the influence of a bizarre plague often referred to as only "The Infection," but sometimes known as "The Bright Light." It's the vivid, orange glow and sometimes matching cysts infesting the environment and many of its creatures, even capable of animating dead bugs as mindless "husks."

It's interesting to me that the natural, healthy state of this setting is one of dim, predominantly grey and blue colors, but the deathly blight is something luminous and vivid. That's cool! There's also a rationalization behind this that is a MASSIVE SPOILER, and we will get to it here, so, be warned about that.

Arguably almost every character and creature in this game is Halloween-appropriate, seeing as they're all gothic-looking beetles and flies with skull-like masks, but of course, reviewing the entire bestiary for just one article would be a pretty massive undertaking. So as usual this time of year, I'm narrowing it down to what I consider "the spookiest," which doesn't necessarily include every one of my favorites, but it does include most of them!



THE HUNTER

"When I was young, my brothers and sisters and I would hunt each other in the nest. Now I hunt alone."


This encounter looks at first like a six-eyed monster within a mossy cave, and the reason we're covering this one first is because, upon your first meeting, The Hunter gifts you its Hunter's Journal This functions rather like Pokemon's Pokedex, but an entry on a given creature is instead filled out once enough of that creature has been killed, and the entries offer us The Hunter's own personal thoughts on each organism! Wherever relevant, we're also going to include the Hunter's notes as a direct quote on the enemies and bosses we're about to review.



The true nature of the Hunter is never clear, but if you return to it with the journal finally complete, the ground collapses and we finally see that the "cave" is only part of the creature itself, or at least something the Hunter "wears" around its upper body. What's interesting is that, when this form is revealed, the boss music starts up as if we're in for quite a battle...but the Hunter doesn't attack us at all. Instead, it gifts us a very special reward for having earned its respect as a fellow killing machine.



THE HOPPER

"[young hoppers] Leaps at prey and uses its sharp proboscis to drain vital fluids. This hopping thief's belly is full of the blood it has stolen from other beasts. If you hold it above a fire, the belly will grow and grow until it explodes in a steaming shower of fluids"

"[Great Hoppers] Leaps around the edge of the world, trying to crush prey beneath its body. A worthy foe, surprisingly nimble for its size. Either keep your distance, or try to dance between its hops and strike at its legs."



This enemy comes in two sizes, but otherwise looks and behaves the same. I apppreciate the respect the Hunter seems to have for the larger adults! These seem to serve multiple purpose as this setting's generalized blood-draining insects, resembling a sort of mosquito but leaping around more like a flea due to their seemingly useless, vestigial wings. I'm a pretty big fan of that! I also really enjoy their bony, beaky faces. Of course, almost every creature in this game has a face or a mask like a stylized, alien skull. This may also be one of the most "normal" creatures to make it onto this list.



THE BROODING MAWLEK

"Ferocious but extremely social creature. Becomes aggressive if not able to mingle with its own kind. I hear this beast crying out sometimes as I prowl the caverns, although I've never actually laid eyes on it. Who or what is it calling for? As far as I can tell, its voice is never answered. "


Extremely sad. You can see that this creature is infested by the light. We don't really learn much else about what a Mawlek is, but we can infer that it's a big, powerful predator, and it's interesting that it has such a grub-like body with a mouth that points straight upwards.

The game also gives secret "dream" dialog to almost every creature, and the Mawlek's includes "where are they...? ...Do they hear me...? ...Alone...alone."

You actually fight the poor thing on a mountain of desiccated Mawlek corpses. It's heartbreaking, though I saw an interesting suggestion in its wiki entry's comments that perhaps Mawleks are supposed to die at around the same time, and this one is only alone because the infection extended its lifespan so unnaturally...



THE HUSK HIVE

"Cowardly husk, its body colonised by hivelings. Did the hivelings build their nest around this sorry bug, or did the bug squeeze its body into their nest? Either way, they seem happy enough together."


Husks are the most common enemy types in the game, and are essentially the light's basic "zombie" bugs, mindless but relentless. They come in many, many varieties, but this one is my favorite since it's also a walking nest of bee-like creatures.



"Hivelings" come in multiple sizes and forms, but the most impressive is the larger hive soldier, whose entire body bursts open into an elaborate, rotating stinger! Somehow, even these can emerge from the holes of the relatively smaller Husk Hive. Its dream dialog, by the way, includes the phrase "belly...tickles."



THE MAGGOT

"Weakest member of the kingdom of Hallownest. Generally looked down upon and forced to do menial labour. Consisting mainly of sweet fat, these helpless creatures make excellent provisions for long journeys. Best roasted over open flame. If they try to bargain for their life, just ignore them. They have nothing to offer. "


What makes this one "spooky" is simply how pitiful it is. These squishy little critters pose no danger at all, and only try desperately to flee from the player. They curiously don't show any sign of the infection, and little else is ever revealed of their lore, but it sounds like the kingdom treated them pretty poorly to begin with, and the Knight doesn't seem to care either way. The game's files call them "prayer slugs," which is a name I actually like a little more.

At least one Prayer Slug does pose a threat, secretly controlling what appears at first to be a very large, armored warrior.



THE GRUB MIMIC

"Assumes the shape of a harmless creature to lure prey. Luring an enemy close by pretending to be a weak little grub. Very cunning! Unfortunately for them, I eat these grubs as soon as I see them. "


A prominent side quest in this game is to find and "rescue" a number of helpless, gentle green grubs, returning them to the more intelligent "grubfather." What happens when you do is quite a surprise, so we won't spoil it here, but some grubs are actually grub mimics, much more vicious creatures whose actual anatomy is nothing like the fat little caterpillars! The three large fangs put me more in the mind of a leech's three jaws.



THE SNAIL SHAMAN


This one is an NPC character rather than an enemy "creature," so we unfortunately don't get any Hunter dialog! The Snail Shaman is, or was, part of a whole tribe of these adorably shadowy little snail people, and can teach the Knight a pretty vicious offensive spell.

We say the snail shaman "was" part of a whole tribe, because you encounter other snail shamans in various states of death or near-death. Just another of the game's many dark puzzle pieces, hinting at the thriving, lively world Hallownest must have been before the coming of the strange, luminous plague.



THE BROKEN VESSEL

"Shattered corpse, reanimated by infected parasites. The shape of this creature... I have seen something like it before. More than once, perhaps. It looks a little like the bugs of Hallownest, but not quite the same. Where did these empty little wanderers come from? "


So this is an example of what the Infection can really do, and even offers some possible insight into the plague's biology. This boss is first seen as a lifeless, empty corpse, as the name implies, but tiny orange organisms called lightseeds soon pour into it, a massive cyst forms in its empty cranium and it begins to attack, spawning mobile cyst-creatures known as "infected balloons" all the while.

What's especially interesting about this is that the "lightseeds" of the Infection look very much like the "lifeseeds" you can harvest from "Lifeblood cocoons" to regain your health, and while not explored in any further detail, the impression I get is that the Infection begins its spread by tainting the lifeseeds consumed by just about everything in Hallownest.



GORB


"Lingering dream of a fallen warrior. A mysterious life-form that claimed to contain all of the world's knowledge inside of its distended brain."

A fun side feature of Hollow Knight is your ability to challenge the spirits of long dead warriors wherever you find their graves, and while a lot of them are cool, the only one we're going to include here is GORB! Gorb, like the Hunter tells us, has a giant brain and claims to contain all the world's knowledge, but whether it contains all that much knowledge of all is unknown. Gorb's spirit has only a single, simple attack, and Gorb's scintillating dialog consists largely of phrases like "I am Gorb! The great mind! I am gorb! Bow! Bow bow bow bow!"

All pretty funny, but Gorb's dialog upon defeat is a little more alarming:

"I...am Gorb! The great mind...the pain! Ascend! Ascend! I...I am..."

Was Gorb really an all-knowing being in life? Maybe, but their mind was also shattered and incoherent, at least by the time of their death. From the phrase "The great mind...the pain!" it feels as if this poor being's mind expanded far beyond what it may have bargained for, or perhaps even established some kind of psychic contact with something it probably shouldn't have.



LURIEN THE WATCHER


Lurien is one of three entities known as the Dreamers, who agreed to enter an indefinite sleep that helps to seal away the titular Hollow Knight. Little is known about Lurien, except that he looks over Hallownest through a telescope at the top of a spider. His simple design of a tattered shroud and a mask with a single eye hole is pretty fun and unique, especially how impossible it is to even guess at what kind of creature he really is.



HERRAH THE BEAST


Another watcher is the former queen of the Spider Tribe, who are somewhat regarded as more "savage" creatures by the kingdom. She agreed to become a dreamer only if the then-ruler of Hallownest, the Pale King, would have a child with her that could live among the more civilized and privileged insects, which ends up being a very important character.

It's interesting just how little she looks like a spider, but not in a bad way.



MONOMON THE TEACHER


If you haven't figured it out already, the bony white "faces" of many beings in this world are only masks, and there's no telling at all if there's even any actual head or face under some of them. Especially not in Monomon's case, since she looks more like some kind of jellyfish than an arthropod. She seems to be some kind of researcher, but her notes are written so strangely that it can be difficult to draw any objective interpretation of their meaning.



THE STALKING DEVOUT

"Worshippers of Herrah the Beast. Shield themselves with hard plated foreclaws, then lash out suddenly to cut down prey. Powerful, well-armoured and fast, these are no mere beasts. Study their movements and watch carefully for an opening."


There's a fan theory that the Hunter actually is one of these creatures, but the six eyes really seem to me like the only thing they might have in common, and you would think he'd have mentioned it. They are however impressively tough and pretty lethal, and they've got a cool anatomical secret!

The mask of the stalking devout is actually a pair of bladed arms that they use to cover a decidely sillier, less menacing face, but as cute as their little beady eyes really are, they're among the deadliest and most challenging enemies in the game.



THE OOMA

"Passive outer being protecting an aggressive, explosive core. Ghastly, eerie creature made out of a thick liquid. You can peer right through them, and can't see where they keep their thoughts. I don't trust them at all. Keep away. "


There are actually several floating jellyfish-like enemies in the game, and their dream dialog has all of them simply speak Monomon's name, as though it's all they think about. We never find out what the connection is, but she may have created them either deliberately or by accident through her research and experimentation.

When an Ooma's outer body is destroyed, its inner core - the same color as the Infection, notably - will rapidly fly around and attempt to explode on the Knight.

It's intriguing how disturbed the Hunter is by these creatures, seemingly really thrown by the fact that they're transparent and made of a gelatinous tissue rather than the usual, familiar chitin. A jellyfish really is about as far removed as you can get from an arthropod, isn't it?



THE MOSS PROPHET


One area of the game is known as Greenpath, overgrown with moss and lichen and inhabited by various plant-encrusted bugs. Most of these bugs follow a giant, benevolent slug named Unn, but the moss prophet seems to worship the Infection as a sort of god, or at least the being responsible for the Infection. It believes that "suppressing the light" is what makes the infection malignant, and that the light should instead be embraced and welcomed.

This does not, in the end, save the prophet from being fatally overgrown with orange cysts.

The species of the prophet is unclear, but I like how much it just looks like a moss-caked snail-blob. What a cute, ghostly little face! It's like a little swamp monster!



THE WEAVER


This is another of those spider-beings we mentioned. They really come in a lot of unique forms, and none of them exactly the classical, recognizable shape of a spider. Despite their lowly status in modern Hallownest, arachnids were once part of a noble and powerful magical empire, weaving all manner of spells with their silk, and the "weavers" were perhaps the bulk of their civilization. Now, at the time of the game's events, only one of these adults is left alive...while many, many tiny young can be encountered under the effects of the Bright Light.

The design is really fantastic, too. I love how it's just a big, multi-eyed ball and stands so high up on its long, thin legs, giving it a bizarrely humanoid look!



MIDWIFE




Another inhabitant of the spider nest, the Midwife is a very talkative NPC whose mask is usually closed, bearing a friendlier looking face, but always tries to convince you to come just a little bit closer to her even as she offers a lot of other helpful information and lore. This also kind of implies that she's sedentary, and while most creatures in the area are arachnids, she seems much more like some kind of elongated worm, reminding us a little bit of a tiger beetle larva, even.



MISTER MUSHROOM


Ugh. Gross. This is the only thing in the entire game with such a human-like face, and it's pretty jarring. The mysterious Mister Mushroom can be found in seven different locations around the game, and speaks unintelligible gibberish unless you possess a certain item, in which case he still speaks pretty cryptically and a lot of his dialog may be references to other games. After each chat, he basically uproots himself and just...flies away.



MASK MAKER




One more NPC spider, the mask maker as its name implies devotes its life to crafting all those white masks. It feels that a creature needs a face to properly exist, but that many creatures have no face without one of its masks. We still don't fully understand what this all means, but it's fascinating regardless, and the mask maker has a very cool design with its huge, bulky body, long limbs and small four-eyed mask.



THE CORPSE CREEPER

"Parasitic beast that controls the body of its host after the host's death. The beasts of this land have found plenty of ingenious hiding places, but none so clever as the body of another creature! If you happen on such a beast, rejoice! You've hunted two creatures at once! "


The Hunter is as delighted by the existence of these as we all ought to be. More brutal denizens of the spider's nests, these enemies are hiding inside certain husk zombies, and in fact the entire body you can see here is basically just the undead corpse flipped on its back, the creeper's spines and legs having burst their way out! Extremely fast, I've seen multiple players say this is the enemy that scared them the most - especially when they went into the game totally blind.



THE NOSK

"Mimics the shape of other creatures to lure prey to its lair. In the deepest darkness, there are beasts who wear faces stolen from your memories and pluck at the strings in your heart. Know yourself, and stay strong. "


Along similar lines to the Corpse Creeper, the Nosk appears at first like something else, though in this case it looks like another you standing around in a cave surrounded by various corpses, all dangling from black strands of web. The real Nosk is an impressively menacing looking monster, black and spiny and spindly with an infected glow showing through its "ribs." I especially like the way its spines make me think of a gothic, wrought iron fence! Of course the coolest detail is how the head on its long neck works so well as an imitation of your own when it's flipped upside down, but gives the Nosk a cute little biting beetle face in its natural position.



THE FLUKEMON

"Worm-like creature that prefers damp, dark habitats. Dangerous, unpredictable foes that infest the pipes below Hallownest's capital. Even when it seems you've killed them, you need to stay on guard. "


This is definitely my favorite "tribe" of creatures in the game, for immediately obvious reasons. Whether they are actually related to "flukes" or trematodes as we know them is impossible to say, since any relation to any Earthly animals in this setting is vague. I love however that there are parasitic worm-people living in Hallownest's sewers, and that they look like pinkish maggots with suction cup mouths and sometimes just a single pair of little buggy legs.

The best part of the Flukemon however is that it seems to be awkward and fairly pitiful until it has been "killed," at which point we discover it's really only been broken in half and significantly pissed off. Its upper half can scream and even fly, while its gibbering, slobbering lower half can scurry at frightening speeds and run straight up walls. Both are very cool looking with their huge, nasty fangs, but I love the lower half the best, just because the image of a snapping, toothy half-worm with two little feet is too much fun.
We're also going to fold the rest of fluke-kind under this entry, and next up is the Flukemarm:


"An insatiable breeder. Has populated the Waterways with its kind. Its insides double as a nest for young Flukefeys. The desire to breed, to leave behind a memory of ourselves in the shape of a child... it seems to be etched deep into the heart of every living creature. I too have felt the pull of that base instinct. "


The mother of all flukes is given the title "Alluring God of Motherhood." She dangles from her chamber like a cocoon, and spits wonderful, flying baby "Flukefeys" from her many...mouths? Are they really mouths anymore? She doesn't do much else, but she is considered one of the more frustrating and difficult bosses in the game, and it's interesting that her larvae include the term "fey." Are the flukes regarded almost like fairies, goblins or trolls by the people of Hallownest?


Finally, we need to address the Fluke Hermit. She's a single NPC fluke who can actually speak, though not quite as coherently as the average bug, communicating in broken sentence fragments broken up with the phrase "gla gla!"

Fluke hermit mentions that her mother has an "angry glow," implying that the flukes too are victims of the infection. After you defeat the Flukemarm, the hermit begins to say "Am I...Mother...?" Which we can hope means she'll be able to take the role of a new Flukemarm, and her people will, hopefully, be alright in the long run.



THE GRIMMKIN

"Dance and die and live forever, Silent voices shout and sing, Stand before the Troupe's dark heart, Burn away the Nightmare King."


This doesn't really seem to be the thoughts of the Hunter, though the Hunter does offer some loose explanation of these beings. They're basically the "ghosts" of this setting, and are the primary agents of the Grimm Troupe, which were added to the game as optional DLC content.

The Troupe presents itself as a traveling circus, but its purpose is actually to gather the flames of nightmares (long story) from fallen kingdoms (such as yours) to sustain the higher entity that enslaves them! It's honestly a lot of fun to see a macabre, ghostly circus motif in the context of a "bug world," and really adds a dash of something different to this game's various aesthetics and moods.



THE MISTAKE

"Once a highly intelligent bug, deformed by the misuse of soul. These fools meddled with the soul of other creatures and lost their shape. Now they skulk through the shadows of their Sanctum like slugs, hoping their old brothers will build them new bodies. "


The Flukes are my favorite "race" in the game, but these might be my favorite individual enemy on concept alone. "Soul" in this game isn't a singular term, that is, you don't "have a soul," but Soul is an energy produced by all living beings that also gives them animation and sentience. Whatever sort of bugs the "mistakes" used to be, they performed taboo experiments with soul energy in an attempt to achieve immortality...and whatever happened instead, it reduced them to these pitiful, amoebic heaps of tissue.

There's more to the Soul Sanctum laboratories and there are other beings at work in this situation, but I don't often see arthropod-based creatures in a "blob" form like this, and the Mistakes just look great! They're so sad and gloomy and weird, and the lore behind them is splendidly dreadful.



THE COLLECTOR

"Dark figure locked inside the Tower of Love. Preserves Hallownest's creatures in glass jars with particular attention given to Grubs. A shadow that sometimes flits through the caverns, making strange noises to itself. I've never seen it clearly so I have no idea what type of creature it is. "


Little is understood about this ominous figure, but it appears to be an entity of pure Void, a black substance from a realm known only as The Abyss and deeply tied to Hallownest's history. As the Hunter states, the Collector gathers bugs of every variety to preserve in jars, dead or alive, but for reasons that are not quite clear. It is, however, referred to as the "Joyous God of Protection," and it is almost constantly giggling like someone being tickled to death. This is pure Bogeyman material, and it's only scarier if its intentions are actually as innocent as they sound. It just seems driven to "save" other beings by bottling them up, but it may not even comprehend that this in itself will eventually kill them and isn't really something they want.

When defeated, the Collector collapses into liquid.



LEG EATER


What a wonderful little creep this one is! Leg Eater is an NPC merchant who lives as a hermit deep within the Fungal Wastes, and sells charms that give various boosts to the knight...until they inevitably break. Despite the fact that Hallownest is pretty much unsalvageable, Leg Eater believes he can eventually become wealthy enough to become the new king.

Despite being blind, the name and the half-eaten corpse indicate that Leg Eater is predatory and gets by well enough. As for the design, this is one of my favorite NPC's. He's basically an insect Gollum!



DIVINE

We have to talk about Divine immediately after Leg Eater, because it turns out that this member of the Grimm Troupe is actually as female of his species. She'll even ask to eat Leg Eater's charms, intrigued by the scent of a male, but will give them back in an upgraded, unbreakable state for the right price.

When you've upgraded every type of charm and brought them back to Leg Eater, he'll finally leave his little cavern to go looking for this lovely-smelling lady...but return to her again, and you'll find nothing but his discarded claws on the floor.

Divine's design is even more delightful than her long-distance boyfriend. The face and the pink ruff are just adorable, while the half-mask, foreclaws and bloated abdomen give her a cool and monstrous twist. She basically has everything!



THE NIGHTMARE HEART


This is the thing served by the Grimm Troupe, a "higher being" (Hollow Knight's cosmic horror quasi-gods) and ultimate power in a place called only the Nightmare Realm.

In order to sustain itself, the Nightmare Heart feeds on "Nightmare Flame" through its spawn, the Nightmare King Grimm, who's more or less this setting's closest equivalent to Dracula. Or maybe the devil. Pennywise? Some kinda big deal of a spooky guy, anyway. The process only works however if a new "Grimmchild" is fed on these flames until it reaches maturity, at which point the Nightmare King must be slaughtered and reborn into the Grimmchild's body. It's all pretty goth, and would be fairly conventional in a lot of other settings, but here, I think it's fun to see how this stuff fits into an arthropod-centric realm.

Grimm and the Grimmchild's designs are about what you expect for Hollow Knight's style, but the Nightmare Heart itself has a more interesting physiology. It doesn't look so much like a "heart" as it does many huge, demonic bug faces, and it's never fully explained, but I kind of get the impression that it continuously grows and adds more of these faces to it with each of these ritualistic sacrifices.


!!!SPOILERS!!!


THE HOLLOW KNIGHT

"Fully grown Vessel, carrying the plague's heart within its body. The old King of Hallownest... he must have been desperate to save his crumbling little world. The sacrifices he imposed on others... all for nothing. "

This one is obviously a pretty big deal. The Hollow Knight is, in fact, technically one of your own Knight's many siblings, but one that has had the chance to fully mature. As we can piece together over the course of the game, your "father" created many such vessels in order to seal away an incredibly dangerous entity and thereby contain the Infection. We also learn that we aren't even true, natural bugs, but empty shells filled with Void, the power of pure darkness from the abyss.

Your course of action from here on can either destroy the Hollow Knight and take their place, or actually eliminate the Infection and free your elder sibling from servitude.



THE PALE KING


So, this is basically your father, but he's already dead by the time you awaken and leave the abyss. More than a mere political figure, it was the Pale King who granted sapience to many of the species of Hallownest and was soon revered like a god; one who promised his people that their kingdom would prosper for all of eternity. Unfortunately, his rise to the status of deity happened to anger something. Something dangerous enough for the king to create the Vessels and fill them with Void especially to fight back against it.

There's quite a twist to the nature of the Pale King, too; that he originally wasn't a mere bug at all.

The Pale King was, in fact, a creature referred to as a Wyrm. These were vast, ancient, incredibly intelligent beasts even gifted with the power of prescience, and fairly accustomed to being worshipped and served by bugs. The Pale King was, seemingly, one of the last of these creatures, and essentially molted and metamorphosed into his tinier, more bug-like form to live amongst his followers and bring them civilization. His intentions were, perhaps, fairly admirable; he really did bring the bugs many generations of prosperity, peace and enlightenment, but he never did shake off the ego of an almighty Wyrm, and while not necessary malevolent, he certainly got greedy as he reveled in his own deification, which was ultimately part of his kingdom's undoing...



THE RADIANCE

"The light, forgotten. The plague, the infection, the madness that haunts the corpses of Hallownest... the light that screams out from the eyes of this dead Kingdom. What is the source? I suppose mere mortals like myself will never understand. "

Here she is...the arch nemesis of the Pale King, the true source of the infection and the true villain of the entire game. The Radiance is another "higher being," the setting's equivalent to basically gods, but despite appearances, she's no more benevolent than the Nightmare Heart. She, too, essentially enslaved her own followers, who were destined to lose all semblance of conscious thought and autonomy as they would ultimately join her in one unified mind.

In particular, the now extinct Moth Tribe was born from and revered the light of the Radiance, but soon turned their backs on her in favor of the Pale King. Furious, she attempted to return to full power and reclaim the bugs of Hallownest as her vassals, and so The Infection was born - the power of a God trying desperately to be remembered.

As diurnal animals, we've built ourselves a culture that has long associated "light" with "good" and "dark" with "evil," but in Hollow Knight, the power of light is the malevolent and corruptive force, while the darkness of the void is the world's best defense. I relate already as someone who quickly feels tired and sick in the sun, but it's certainly not the norm in most media, and it's a wonderfully thematic twist for a setting populated by worms, slugs, fungi and beetles.

There's obviously quite a bit more to Hollow Knight, and there's even an entire sequel game on its way, but I've now covered almost everything from the original game that I personally found the most interesting, with just a few exceptions like Bardoon here. Like I touched upon above however, this game's style, setting, themes and designs are so perfect that it almost, weirdly... gets me a little down. As a child, I have no doubt I would have dove headlong into this game's fandom and possibly never let go, even long after others may have moved on to shinier new franchises.

I mean, just imagine for one moment being a shut-in of a kid who gets almost as emotionally invested in video games as one might get emotionally invested in actually traveling to far-off fantasy worlds. Imagine also being a kid who OBSESSES over, practically worships insects and by extension all the other little things that slither and crawl around among the mushrooms and lichens. Now imagine wishing dearly that there could ever be a single piece of media in which you could actually be such a creature in a world where they are not necessarily just gross, vicious monsters. Meanwhile, this kid has a bonus obsession with caves and the Metroid series is one of their most favorite of all pieces of media pretty much entirely for the environments and enemies. The final bow on top is that this kid's entire childhood takes place before they've ever seen any two of these things combined in an appealing way, and in fact, it doesn't feel to them like anyone else in all the world shares any of their interests, because there's no internet yet to find like-minded niches and nobody they've ever met thinks any of these things are anything other than stupid or even disgusting.

As a nearly middle-aged adult who has now spent many years in a media-saturated internet culture, it basically feels like Hollow Knight came out "too late" for me to ever appreciate as deeply as I was "supposed" to. It's as if my entire life up to this point had a Hollow-Knight-Shaped hole in it, but by the time I even ever knew what Hollow Knight was, that hole had already been quietly, gradually filled with scraps of many other, lesser works of media.

I guess I'm rambling a bit now, about things that are difficult to put into words. I'm not the only who can like something so much that it makes them sad, am I?




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