If you have enjoyed exploring Hallownest and are looking for similar-style adventures, then take a look at the 10 best games like Hollow Knight to play today!
There’s a reason that Hollow Knight took the top spot in our list of the best indie games on Switch; it’s a beautiful game from start to finish and feels like the weirdest lucid dream you’ve never wanted to get lost in.
We even included this as one of out best Nintendo Switch games of all time – that’s how good it is!
If you’re looking for more Metroidvania titles that pack a punch, then we’ve got 10 of the best, most exciting, and often harrowing titles for you to try your hand at.
So, I’ll stop waffling and and let you dive in. Be warned though; expect to lose a lot of hours playing these games once you start!
Table of Contents
Blasphemous kickstarts this list of the best games like Hollow Knight to play today!
Ok, so Blasphemous is undoubtedly a lot more gory than Hollow Knight, but in terms of moody, dark gameplay that leaves you blaspheming at the TV, then you you can’t go wrong with this title.
To say that this is a game designed to be like a retro pixelated classic, it’s actually incredibly detailed and richly textured.
The boss fights too… we’re talking foreboding enemies that will leave you terrified to make the first move (a little like my dating history).
If you love the difficulty of Dark Souls (a sentence I’m undoubtedly going to write a lot as I move through this article, but wish that it played more like a Metoidvania style game, then you’ll be all over this one.
Child of Light is up next, a side scrolling game that never fails to put a smile on our face. It’s a slick RPG that sees players controlling a dead girl in a fantasy world.
The sun and the moon have disappeared, and you’ve got to try and bring order back to everything.
All while being dead… talk about adding insult to injury!
If you love Hollow Knight and the next ‘armless hero’ that’s coming up in our list, then Child of Light will feel incredibly familiar and exciting at the same time.
I mean, the game also rhymes with Hollow Knight, so it would have been incredibly rude not to put it in this list, right?
Graphically, it looks amazing too. It’s like a cross between Rayman and Dead Cells, a sketchy version, if you will (that’s artistically, not badly made).
And to top it all off, it has puzzles that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Zelda game either. Hows that for a well-rounded package, huh?
Rayman Legends takes the 8th spot in our list of the best games like Hollow Knight!
Ok, so I bet everyone of you has played this game at least once during your lives so far on one of your consoles. We’ve picked the Wii U version because it’s one of our most-turned-to games on the console and still looks fantastic today.
If you know your Rayman, then
Legends follows directly on from Origins and brings all of the same epic side-scrolling action to our TV screens. Rayman and Globox, along with the Teensies, have been asleep for one-hundred years…
… that seems a tad excessive, even for a vide game character!
Just look at that still above! Rayman games are mad from start to finish, there’s no doubt about that. The levels capture that giddyness that we all felt the first time we dived into Rayman’s world back in 1995.
And the depth to each level is insane too. Honestly, you forget that you’re playing a sidescroller from time to time. And I suppose I could be more impressed by this because I remember the days of Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, but it’s utterly amazing!
Rayman comes equipped with all of his usual moves and gizmos that we’ve come to love over the years including having the ability to run up walls. Plus you’ll recognise lots of other famous characters from the series too!
Cave Story is another well-revered Metroidvania title that fans of Hollow Knight have turned to over the years.
Imagine if you crossed Castlevania with Oxygen Not Included, and you’ve got Cave Story in a nutshell. Exploration is key, as is that main thing that we all know from playing Hollow Knight – bosses that make you want to run home crying for your mama.
Cave Story is pretty cheap to play on Steam, but you’ll need to look for Cave Story + if you want to grab a copy for your Nintendo Switch.
I love the almost ‘Worms-esque’ feel to the levels in this game too – there are so many reasons why me and other people class Cave Story as one of the best indie games of all time, and that’s why it’s one of the most well known too!
The rabbit race of creatures reminds me of the character format of Hollow Knight, albeit less creepy-crawly and spooky. It’s definitely one for Hollow Knight lovers to tap into if they’re looking for a break or something slightly new that also feels familiar, like a long lost cousin you’ve only seen in old photos.
If dungeon crawling devilry is your bag, then look no further than Hades. You’ll be going up against the god of death himself, so don’t expect an easy ride here.
Though I suppose if escaping Hades was an easy job, then everyone would be trying it and the Greek Myths would have been pretty boring, right?
You play as a character called Zagreus, a person that just so happens to be Hades’ very own son. He’s sick of being in the underworld and wants to head up to be with Zeus and the other lads and lasses sipping wine and kicking back, and you’ve got to help him.
So, what is Hades like to play?
Well, in terms of graphics, it’s very much based on a lot of the best 2.5D or isometric view games from yesteryear. We’re talking Final Fantasy Tactics and the 1997 game Fallout twinned with newer titles like Tunic.
Losing your gear and items is super easy in this game, so you’re going to want to be looking for permanent upgrades bought through collecting coins.
Hack and slash your way through the underworld in a game that makes unwinding and blowing off steam super easy. It’s the perfect game to play after a long day of writing!
Limbo takes the 5th spot in our list of the best games to play like Hollow Knight!
Colour palette wise, Limbo definitely has a lot of Hollow Knight vibes about it. It’s filled with the spooky, the creepy, and the downright treacherous.
And you tend to die quite a lot, but that adds to the danger. You feel very human in this game; there’s no supersonic flying like Space Harrier or taking hundreds of arrows and still walking around like some sort of god.
Work with the levels and use your brain to get ahead of the game!
In terms of story (and you know as a writer that this is always one of the main things I look to), Limbo is fantastic. Imagine a version of Rayman where everyone is dead and instead of happy faces there’s just sombre people everywhere.
Oh, and a world where everyone wants to eat you everywhere you go, and that’s Limbo!
As I’ve just said above, that ‘humanistic’ element to this game makes your skin crawl. Corpse bridges, kid gangs trying to end your life… it’s not an easy play, that’s for sure!
Dead Cells takes the 4th spot in our list of the best games like Hollow Knight, and it’s one of the most played games here at Retro Dodo Towers.
For those of you that don’t know what a roguelike game is, then listen up. Dead Cells is an RPG that plays like Metroid and Castlevania but where death is permanent. They can be incredibly tough to crack and and frustrating at times, but boy are they worth playing!
So, a tough sidescroller with RPG features, got it. Let’s talk about what happens in the game now, eh?
When you die, you die and have to start again. You’ll keep some items, but not a lot to make a difference. These games see dying as a learning curve.
I see them as being blooming annoying, but what do I know…
As for the character, you play as a decapitated corpse re-animated by a spectral being. Fight the forces of the undead and just do whatever you can to not die while playing. That’s wishful thinking because it’ll happen a lot, but stick with it!
If you want a side-scrolling game with a strong feel of Dark Souls and Returnal yet that has that dusky, Film Noir style gameplay that makes Hollow Knight so distinctive and appealing, then Salt & Sanctuary should be right up your street.
Don’t be fooled by thinking that a side-scrolling game can’t be gruellingly brutal from the off. This is one of those games where dying is just part and parcel of the gameplay. It can become incredibly tedious at times, so just remove any breakable objects from the nearby area and try to stay as calm as possible!
It’s no secret that Hollow Knight has always been a kind of 2D homage to games like Dark Souls, and Blasphemous follows that same feel too.
When it comes to bosses, Salt & Sanctuary will leave you wishing you were playing a game like Mario Party. Those gargantuan enemies are incredibly tough to topple, and you’ll need to spend a lot of time customising your character and collecting salts (the games version of ‘souls’) just to catch your breath again!
Metroid Dread takes the 2nd spot in this list of the best games like Hollow Knight.
Metroid should be no surprise to any of our Retro Dodo readers. And yes, I guess it would be fair to say that when it comes to ‘games being like other titles’, Hollow Knight would actually have taken a lot of inspiration from the dark and gloomy Metroid series.
Still, Metroid Dread is one of the only games that comes close to matching that eerie tension that we feel while playing Hollow Knight. Terrible foes jump out at you when you least expect it and it’s one of the most detailed maps we’ve seen from a side-scrolling game in a long time.
Many of you will remember the days of Super Metroid on the SNES, especially if you’ve been playing it as part of the SNES catalogue on Nintendo Switch Online. And while that original game is still a classic, Metroid Dread feels like a slick machine compared to it’s slightly janky retro counterpart.
Yes, Samus is a Bounty hunter and Hollow Knight is a little dude with a sword in a world filled with ginormous bugs, but they feel the same and share a lot of positive similarities. If you haven’t already, check it out and let us know your thoughts!
The results are in, our little knight has spoken, and Ori & The Will Of The Wisps is officially the best game like Hollow Knight to play today!
Ok, so the first thing I should say is that this game is way more colourful and vibrant than Hollow Knight. In many ways it feels like a deeper version of Child of Light, with a storyline that will never fail to pull at your heart strings and leave you reaching for a tissue.
We all know, and if you didn’t already then you’ve read about it about a dozen times or so already through this article, that Hollow Knight prides itself on huge boss battles.
And the levels, while more jovial-feeling as though Hollow Knight had had a bit of Amaterasu’s Celestial Brush from Ōkami, are just as rich and filled with intricate details to pick up on while playing.
The game itself isn’t long, but then again none of the titles in this list are designed to go up against BotW when it comes to longevity. Still, if you’re a fan of Metroidvania side-scrolling titles and want to get some boss-battle action to test your gaming mettle, then Ori & The Will Of The Wisps definitely fits the bill!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 33 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.