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Changes YoY: =    My Rating: 9.3 / 10

I've long since lost track of all the Metroidvania games I've played over the years, from the two series that gave the genre its name, to far too many indie games to even count at this point. That effectively spans a period of 30 years at this point, and out of all of them, Hollow Knight stands as the unquestionable peak of the whole genre in my opinion. Not only is the game visually gorgeous, it has some of the tightest, most rewarding gameplay that I've experienced in any 2D Metroidvania. In addition, the setting is wonderfully designed, each location flowing into each other in a way that makes sense and makes the world feel like a place with a past and a culture of its own.

The game also lets the player figure out a lot of the story for themselves, rather than spelling everything out. The characters talk about past events and items you find provide hints at the larger context that everything fits into, but much of it is still left for the player to fit together as they discover new locations and characters that each provide another piece to the puzzle. Very few games have held my interest as effortlessly as Hollow Knight, even through the most challenging sections and battles I never felt the need to stop playing for long. It effectively strikes a perfect balance between challenge and constant sense of discovery. There are so many places to visit and secrets to find behind every corner that it's very easy to fall into the "just one more attempt" flow. The soundtrack is also one of the best of the last decade.