Hollow Knight

LQ: 9.65


Brain grade: 9.4
Fun score: 9.9

Game Type: , ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ Platform/Console: , , , , LWK Recommended Age: 10+ Thinking Skills Used: , Academic Skills Used:

Nintendo Switch Steam PS4 XBox One Xbox Series X/S


Hollow Knight is a cross between a souls game and a metroidvania where the player controls a small helmeted character while exploring a labyrinthian dead city called Hallownest. The player controls the character named Knight by initially jumping and slashing through the environment. They eventually earn more upgrades like wall climbing by defeating the game’s many bosses. 

As the player explorers the environment, they will encounter various bugs, some friendly, some hostile. Knight will have to fight these hostile bugs using his needle, a type of sword.

When enemies are defeated, they drop Geo, the currency of the game. Geo can be used to heal and to purchase items throughout the game. If the player dies, they will need to find their soul and slash at it in order to recover the Geo they have lost. Save points are relegated to benches where you can sit and “rest”, i.e. save your game and heal up. 

The player does not get much in the way of story at the beginning of the game so they begin to discover secrets about the dead village as they explore and interact with characters they encounter. Putting together the story of Hollow Knight and defeating the evil that lurks beneath the ground is just as important as the hacking and slashing through countless bug enemies. 

Hollow Knight helps kids practice and improve the following skills:

Working Memory: Recalling and retaining information in our minds while working. 

The world of Hollownest is sprawling and vast, meaning that the player needs to be able to recall where they are going and where they have been. For example, if you find the cartographer who can sell you a map but don’t have enough Geo to pay him you will need to venture back out into the village and collect more in order to be able to pay for it. Once you go back out to collect the Geo, however, you will need to remember where the cartographer was in the first place so you can work your way back to where he is and purchase your map. 

Also, the player needs to use their working memory to recall which buttons perform which functions in the game. When you are battling an angry beetle with a giant sword, you don’t have time to think about what button helps you jump out of the way and which one controls your wall climbing ability. Players need to be able to seamlessly operate the controls while navigating traps, fighting enemies, and avoiding pitfalls. 

Self-Control: Managing our actions, feelings and behaviors.

Because there are few save points in Hollow Knight and when you die you must recover all of your Geo, the game can seem very hard and frustrating. Players need to tap into their self-control reserves and not become too frustrated or discouraged while they are working through the game. Also, players can practice self-control by realizing when they are too frustrated to play effectively and acknowledge that they need to take a break from playing and do another activity for a while. 

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