One of the most common requests we see around the internet come from people who have just finished Hollow Knight, and they’re looking for similar games. We’re sorry to say, there’s nothing quite like Hollow Knight out there – at least not that we’ve seen yet. Hollow Knight is something of a variety show; a perfect blend of challenging platforming, adrenaline charged combat, intriguing lore, and deep open exploration. Most of the games we’ve played do some mix of those four categories, but none of them have done all four with such a high level of quality in the same way that Hollow Knight does it.
So in this list we’ve put together our picks for games that share similarities to Hollow Knight. Depending on what you liked the most about Hollow Knight they may scratch the itch you’re looking for – but they might not. You may even find that you like some of these games even more, unless you’re really into all aspects of what Hollow Knight does well.
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For this list we’ll be including a “similarities” trait, where we’ll be summarizing our thoughts into just a few words on why we think Hollow Knight fans may enjoy the game. For the most detail, check out the game’s review by clicking on its respective title.
Similarities: Excellent Combat, Challenging Platforming, Layered Story
Platforms: PC (Steam, GoG), Switch, PS4, Xbox One
If your favorite things about Hollow Knight included frenetic combat and pogo-jump charged platforming, The Messenger offers up some of the best in the platformer genre. It meticulously manages its challenges by being a completely linear game for its first half, however. So for the “complete” Metroidvania experience The Messenger ends up being low on this list. Its story presentation is also more direct, but it does include layers that invite interpretation and discussion similar to a more subtle approach, giving you plenty to chat about on forums.
Similarities: Engaging Combat
Platforms: PC (Steam), Linux, MacOS, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
While Hollow Knight delivers some of the best combat content in the genre, it does so with a relatively simple set of mechanics. Momodora Reverie Under the Moonlight features similarly simple mechanics; you basically only get one main weapon and your only other attack option is a chargeable bow. You get a useful dodge move from the beginning, and you get healing items that replenish at save points – all basic stuff – so the combat is carried entirely by the dynamics of the boss fights. There’s also a castle to explore, but it’s relatively small. The game as a whole can be completed in under 4 hours, but it’s an excellent 4 hours nevertheless. We recommend playing it on hard mode; it’s well-designed and perhaps closer to the kind of challenge you may be looking for.
Similarities: Challenging Combat, Mysterious Lore
Platforms: PC (Steam, GoG), Switch
Unworthy sits firmly in the Souls-like genre, taking the similarities to FromSoftware’s Dark Souls series to the next level by making it so you can’t even jump. Obviously that excludes “platforming” from its offerings, but you will be surprised how much the game requires you to think about your positioning in a similar way. Much like Momodora, Unworthy carries its relatively simple combat on boss content, but the primary reason Unworthy is higher up on this list is because it is also an engaging mystery box to solve. Pay attention to the lore and the hints within game and you may discover entire secret areas and uncover that there’s more than meets the eye.
Similarities: Open Exploration, Difficult Combat (but very different)
Platforms: PC (Steam), Switch, PS4, PS Vita
Now hear us out. On its surface Rabi-Ribi seems like it’s the complete opposite of Hollow Knight, especially considering its bizarre theming. The thing that earns it a place on this list is its Metroidvania world. Not only do you have complete freedom to choose from dozens of objectives, you can actually beat the entire game without picking up a single upgrade. This makes it a very replayable and creative exploration experience. Besides that the combat isn’t so much different from Hollow Knight that we can’t still recommend that as a feature. Both games require expert positioning using all of the tools available to you, the biggest difference being that dealing damage in Rabi-Ribi is about racking up combos rather than landing important hits.
Similarities: Open Exploration, Simple-yet-difficult combat, Mysterious Lore
Platforms: PC (Steam, GoG), Switch, PS4, PS Vita
In Hollow Knight you spend most of your time wandering a Metroidvania world looking for a passageway you can access with your new powers. La-Mulana has that, but the biggest timesink is going to be solving puzzles to move forward. Imagine if you had to actually learn the lore of Hollow Knight in order to progress, to the point where you couldn’t just brute force your way through things by wandering around and collecting everything. That’s sort of what La-Mulana is like. It’s part point-and-click adventure game and part Castlevania. While that’s an unusual niche we don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that it’s like taking Hollow Knight’s mystery to the next level. Combat is intentionally clunky and oldschool – which may be a turn off coming from Hollow Knight’s fluid modern control – but nevertheless if you get used to it there are plenty of memorable bosses to defeat. Just make sure you give yourself well over 40 hours to complete this game if you intend to do it without a guide.
Similarities: Fluid Platforming, Simple-yet-difficult combat
Platforms: PC (Steam, GoG)
Cathedral is a more straightforward, almost Zelda-like experience, but it still shares enough similarities to Hollow Knight that we think it’s worth mentioning. Believe it or not, the Knight in this game is actually easier to control than the Knight from Hollow Knight. You actually have fewer movement options here – no wall jumping and nothing analogous to the crystal launch power – but you’ll still be nimbly dodging buzz-saws and laser traps all the same. There are a lot of great secrets to be found in Cathedral, but it is a whole lot more linear, trading the map navigation for some Zelda-like puzzles. Like everything on this list it’s just different enough that the comparison becomes more of a Venn diagram sort of thing, but there’s a pretty good chance you’ll like both.
Similarities: Challenging Combat, Souls-like Mechanics and Lore presentation, RPG Elements
Platforms: PC (Steam), Switch, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One
You may have heard people call Hollow Knight a Souls-like game thanks to its obtuse lore and loss of currency on death. Well, Salt and Sanctuary is the most “Souls-like” of the FromSoftware Souls-like wannabe games out there, and that design is much more intentional. While unlike Unworthy it actually has jumping, it also has fall damage, near-death enemy attacks, and stamina governed player attacks. Salt and Sanctuary’s most unique feature within the Metroidvania genre is how deep its leveling system goes, offering up hundreds if not thousands of ways you can build your character – taking the depth of charm builds to the next level. It also has a large world to explore, obtuse player-driven storytelling, and of course the mandatory amazing boss fights, but it does have the drawback of not having any mapping system to help you along.
Similarities: Challenging Platforming, Similar Combat Mechanics, Some Exploration
Platforms: PC (Steam, Windows Store), Xbox One, Xbox Game Pass
There have been a few people that have said they really liked the movement and platforming in Hollow Knight, but didn’t like the boss fights. To them our favorite recommendation has been Ori and the Blind Forest, as that game has rather simple combat (almost non-existent), and focuses entirely on offering a grand platforming experience. Ori 2 tries to offer both, and ends up brushing close to what Hollow Knight provides to the point that the comparison is drawn by just about everyone who plays it. It’s not as good on the combat side of things – mostly because of a lack of meaningful content – but it makes up for it with the series’ signature platforming. Will of the Wisps also has a better world for exploration compared to the Blind Forest, and while the critical path is still relatively linear there are optional side areas that help scratch that Metroidvania itch.
Similarities: Open Exploration, Environmental Storytelling
Platforms: Nintendo Switch Online Service, 3DS Virtual Console, Wii U Virtual Console, SNES Classic, SNES
If your favorite thing about Hollow Knight is exploring its world, then you have to play Super Metroid. Even twenty-five years after its release it remains a gold-standard for non-linear level design. If you master its advanced techniques you can turn the whole game into your own personal playground. Its combat isn’t nearly as polished – and is probably the weakest part of the game – but there are still some memorable encounters nevertheless, even if that memory comes from the storytelling aspect rather than the mechanics themselves.
Similarities: Challenging Combat (Amazing bosses!), Mysterious Lore, Ludicrous Platforming
Platforms: PC (Steam)
Any time a we hear a request for more games like Hollow Knight, this is the first one that comes to our minds. That recommendation of course comes with caveats, and for Environmental Station Alpha (ESA) the caveat is that it has no RPG aspects whatsoever. There are no charms or any changeable equipment, there is no currency, you can’t upgrade your gun, and you can’t heal during combat. Enemies don’t even drop healing items – or anything at all. Where Hollow Knight and ESA are similar is that both games have amazing boss fights centered around landing meaningful hits and positioning. Both games have challenging platforming, and both games have mysteries to solve to unfold more of the truth. ESA takes everything to a brutal extreme however, surpassing the difficulty of the base Hollow Knight game to a point that we suspect most players gave up before seeing all four of ESA’s endings. Don’t let ESA’s old school aesthetic fool you, its controls are wonderfully fluid and it’s one of the deepest Metroidvania experiences available. If you’re looking for more to play after Hollow Knight, this is our number one pick.
And that’s our list! As mentioned, none of these games can replace Hollow Knight, nor do they act as any kind of extension of the experience. We hope that they can scratch some of that itch nevertheless, while maybe offering something new for you to cherish. If nothing else they can give you something to do while we all wait for Silksong to come out.
Of course, we haven’t played every Metroidvania game yet so maybe you’ve played something that should be on this list. Or, maybe we have played something that you think deserves a slot instead. Let us know what you think in the comments below or on our Discord!