Your Guide to Acing Hollow Knight
One of the most-loved games in the world, Hollow Knight, is well on its way to becoming a classic.
This beautiful indie game developed by Team Cherry, starts in the underground world of the Hallownest, below the sleepy town of Dirtmouth. An unnamed masked insect explores the cavernous world that’s just out-of-sight of humans. It has only one goal – find and kill the Hollow Knight and take upon itself the infection that’s decaying Hallownest. Our hero charts his own path, makes delightful discoveries, uncovers terrifying plans by the bad guys, and fights to destroy the darkness.
Hollow Knight is an endearing and exciting game, and if you haven’t played it yet, you should. But before you do, read these strategies, which will help you outmaneuver your opponents and blaze your way to success.
1. Don’t be stingy with the geos
A lot of new players start hoarding their currency (geos) to use during the later stages of the game. But this is a very poorly thought-out tactic.
The fact is, you’ll need your geos later in the game if you make it that far. But more often than not, you won’t make it past the first few levels if you don’t have a few essentials. And these essentials are going to cost you.
From gear to charms, there are a lot of items that players can purchase when they’re in the Hallownest. You’ll even need geos to unlock the doors to new levels. So, don’t save your money until you’ve already bought what you need.
Once you’re done with your purchases, you can visit Milliebelle, the local banker. She can store your extra geos for you, for a fee.
2. Buy a map of the Hallownest from Cornifer
Hallownest is a vast geographical area. There are hundreds of caverns, cul-de-sacs, crossroads, and mazes where the Knight can get lost in. That’s why it’s imperative that you get yourself a map right away.
Players can buy a map of Hallownest from Cornifer, the cartographer (mapmaker). This map contains information about every nook and cranny of the nest. You can first find Cornifer at the bottom of The Forgotten Crossroads. He can also be found in every zone of the nest, and you’ll need to look for him the moment you enter a new zone.
The mapmaker is a type of fly, and you can identify he’s near when you hear that distinct hum-like noise that flies make. You’ll also see scrolls of paper on the floor when you’re getting closer to him.
The first map costs 30 geos, and there are overall 12 maps to be bought (worth about 1079 geos). If you don’t have the required currency, Conifer disappears. However, you can still buy the map from his wife Iselda’s shop (to the east of the Stag Station in Dirtmouth).
If you’ve bought the map from the mapmaker, we still suggest you head to Iselda’s shop. There, you need to buy the Wayward Compass (220 geos), which will help you find your way back if you lose your path.
You should also purchase a quill (120 geos) to make notes on your maps, a bench pin (100 geos) to find your favorite rest spots, and a vendor pin (100 geos) to mark the location of the various vendors. This will save you time in the game.
3. Look for benches, shortcut routes, and stag stations
In Hollow Knight, a “bench” is like a rest stop where the Knight sits to recharge his depleted power reserves. The bench also acts as the starting point when the Knight is killed in the game. The bench you used just prior to being killed will be your starting point when you’re reborn. By using bench pins, you can easily locate your favorite benches and rush there if you’re feeling too tired or vulnerable.
Apart from benches, you should also look for shortcuts. Since the Knight has an extensive amount of running around to do throughout the game, shortcuts can help him conserve precious energy, which he can use during battles.
But not all places have shortcut routes. In such cases, you should search for the nearest stag station. These stations are areas where the Knight can summon a transport and be speedily delivered to his destination. Every time you encounter a new station, you need to pay for it. But, any subsequent visits you make are free-of-cost and can be used by ringing the bell that’s hung outside the station.
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4. Visit the merchants/vendors as soon as you can
Merchants/vendors are creatures who are located across Hallownest and who sell items that are helpful in completing quests. There are 12 vendors that you need to contact during the game (listed below are their names, locations & services):
- Iselda – Dirtmouth – To buy maps, quills, and other items.
- Confessor Jiji – Dirtmouth – Give her a rancid egg to enlist her help to find your Shade.
- Charm Lover Salubra – Southeastern side of Forgotten Crossroads – She sells charms & notches – You can buy Salubra’s Blessing after collecting 40 charms and giving 800 geos (To reach Salubra, defeat Gruz Mother and get the Mothwing Cloak).
- Leg Eater – Fungal Wastes – For 86 geos, you can access his Fragile charms shop and even get him to repair broken charms.
- Little Fool – Colosseum of Fools – He is the colosseum’s warden and unlocks three trials in exchange for payment.
- Millibelle – Fog Canyon near the Queen's Station – For a minimum payment of 100 geos, players can keep up to 4500 geos in her bank. But if the amount crosses 2500 geos, Millibelle escapes to Pleasure House with your money, where players can attack her and get back 1.5X more than the amount deposited.
- Nailsmith – City of Tears – He will forge The Knight's Nail in exchange for the Pale Ore and a few geos (Pale ore is the reward for completing the Trial of the Conqueror mini-quest).
- Relic Seeker Lemm – City of Tears – You can trade relics with him for geos.
- Sly – Forgotten Crossroads – He must be rescued and sent to Dirtmouth to his nail shop.
- Steel Soul Jinn – Dirtmouth – She is the only vendor in the Steel Soul Mode, and she gives geos in exchange for rancid eggs.
- The Last Stag – Stag Station – He can be found at the Stations. He transports the Knight from place-to-place.
- Tuk – Royal Waterways – She sells food and other services in exchange for geos. She gifts a rancid egg when the Knight meets her with an activated Defender's Crest.
5. Get charms that are right for you
Charms are powerful items that increase the strength and skill of the Knight when they’re activated/equipped. There are a total of 45 charms that you need to collect (but you’ll be allowed to hold only 40 charms at a time).
Players must also collect charm notches, which are the tools you need to use to equip the charms you have. The Knight starts with three notches at the beginning of the game; eight more need to be collected.
Before collecting charms and notches, decide how you want to proceed in the game. There are charms for protection, healing, attacking, exploration, and so on. Charms can be expensive, so buy only those which match your goals.
6. Collect nail arts to strengthen your attack techniques
“Nail” is the weapon the Knight uses to fight his enemies. Initially, the nail is capable of basic maneuvers and light attacks. But, by collecting nail arts, you can increase the versatility and power of your attacks.
To buy a sharpened nail that can withstand nine damages, you’ll need to pay 250 geos. Other nails, like channeled nail (13 damages for 800 geos, 1 pale ore), coiled nail (17 damages for 2000 geos, 2 pale ores), and pure nail (21 damages for 4000 geos, 3 pale ores) must be bought to defeat the bosses at the end of the quests. There are three nail arts to be found in the game, and once you get them, you’re rewarded with the Nailmaster’s Glory charm.
Now, here are some nail techniques you can use when fighting your enemies:
- Forward slash – To kill unarmed bugs.
- Downward thrust with jump – To bounce-off spiky or watery surfaces.
- Downward strike with jump – To propel yourself vertically.
- Upward slash (and then stationary) – To fend-off aerial attacks.
7. Hunt down your shade and get back your soul meter and currency
In Hollow Knight, your shade is your soul, which leaves your body when the Knight has been defeated in battle. It’s imperative that you reclaim your shade because it has your soul meter (which you need to play the game) and your geos.
Once you wake up (at the last bench), make your way back to the place you died. You need to fight and defeat the shade to get back your soul meter and currency. Defeating the shade is easy. It is a very slow entity, and a couple of sudden, surprise strikes should kill it.
If you forget where you left your shade, just give a rancid egg to Confessor Jiji, and she’ll get your shade for you.
8. Use magic only when you have no other choice
The Knight is a magical being, and you have seven spells and 11 special abilities, which you can use to both inflict damage on others and heal yourself. But, magic drains the Knight’s energy/soul, and without this soul, you won’t be able to defeat the bosses.
As a best practice, only use your nail and charms in the first 3/4th part of the game. Reserve your magic for the final showdowns.
9. Play the alternative endings to get more from the game
The Hollow Knight game comes built with multiple endings – Traditional, Sealed Siblings, Dream No More, Passing of the Age, The Grimm Troupe, and Hidden Dreams. Each of these follows a different storyline and offers a unique gameplay experience.
Try these endings and explore the immense scope of this stellar game.