Hollow Knight Guide

1. The Basics

Hollow Knight is an indie platformer created in the style of a Metroidvania. A loose definition of Metroidvania is simply that it borrows heavily from established conventions used in old Metroids. In simpler terms it means the game is a tough platformer which is open world, but requires unlocking certain items and abilities in order to progress or access certain areas.


Hollow Knight is armed with a nail, which is his primary weapon. The nail acts like a sword and can be swung in multiple directions. Combat consists largely of learning attack patterns and then exploiting them. Dodging is a huge part of the game so be prepared.


Hollow Knight guide

Being in the Metroid vein means there are a lot of upgrades to either find or buy. These upgrades take a few forms: abilities and Charms. Abilities are always at your disposal. For example, Focus is the healing ability you get at the start of the game. Charms on the other hand can be swapped out at benches and give the player certain passive abilities. One Charm will give more I-Frames upon hit for example.

Overcharming – To ensure you do not equip every Charm in the game, there is a limited number of Charm slots available to the character. If you have a 3 slot Charm, but only two slots available, you can do what is called Overcharming. Overcharming is basically equipping more Charms then you have slots available which comes at the cost of taking double damage.


Hollow Knight is designed with exploration in mind. There is a map system in the game, but each area requires a map be purchased to reveal locations. There are also pins which can be purchased to illuminate certain key areas on the map.

Checkpoints + Fast Travel

Hollow Knight guide

Like Dark Souls, there is a bonfire like system in Hollow Knight. Checkpoints are represented by benches or things you can sit on. Sitting at one of these checkpoints heals the player, creates a checkpoint and allows players to equip trinkets.

Hollow Knight guide

There is a Fast Travel system in the game. To access the system, players must find toll collectors and pay the necessary toll. It is very akin to something like Morrowind’s Stilt Striders.

Death Penalty

Hollow Knight guide

I’m gonna reference Dark Souls once again in terms of describing the death penalty in Hollow Knight. Similar to losing Souls, player lose their collected Geo upon death and the Geo takes the form of a spectre which looks just like you. This spectre stays where you died, so you must head back and defeat the spectre to reclaim your lost Geo.

Rancid Eggs

I have confession to make. For my first playthrough I never once used a Rancid Egg. This is not because I am good or anything. Basically I had no idea what to do with them. When I completed the game, I googled the purpose of Rancid Eggs and learned how they worked. Let me pass on my findings to you.

Rancids Eggs are given to a character in Dirtmouth (All the way right of the city behind the simple locked door), who will then call your Shade back to you no matter where you died. This means if you died in a particularly difficult spot to return to, it might be a better option to summon the shade. Hope this helps!

These are a few of basics of the game. Let me know in the Pit if you have any more questions.


Starting the site back in 2016, Eli has poured blood, sweat and tears into making HtR a premiere spot for neckbeards and nerds alike.

83 responses

  1. NGorter says:

    Can I use your writing and pictures in this guide to create a android app and publish it legally?

  2. fritz says:

    On page 6, Getting to hornet section, isnt going left then down from Cornifer ability locked? I’m trying to speedrun this game using this guide. thanks!

  3. Lee Cunningham says:

    This is an excellent, massively helpful walkthrough dude. It’s articulate, easy to follow, and is my default go to guide for when I’m stuck

    Much obliged for your putting in the effort in its preparation. I know that the front of house end result belays an awful lot of back office work that you no doubt sweated into this. You’ve done a top job



    – everygrainofsand –

  4. Dorotyhy little cat says:

    Great guide!! it really helped me solve all of the grueling puzzles! who knew the creatures were bugs!

  5. KyloRen23471 says:

    What about howling cliffs?

  6. KyloRen23471 says:

    I need help. I went to the store in dirtmouth after being at the seers house. I accidentally fell in and got the dream nail on accident. I was traversing through crystal peak when i fell in. I would like to know if i can get back without the tram pass because i dont have that. Also the map wasnt in cornifers shop.

    • Jogamy says:

      in section 10 of the guide it has discription on how to get to the resting grounds and you should find a card here that says cornifer left after that you will be able to buy the map at dirtmouth

  7. KyloRen23471 says:

    How do i get to the other area in city of tears? In the other area to the northwestern bench. There is a little corridor and it has just a block and the leaver on the other side. OR how do i get to the area past where you meet hornet?

  8. sleepy_birdie says:

    “Uumuu only takes damage after being deflated by (name?) an ally who appears during the fight.”

    Quirrel! You make it sound like you haven’t played the game for enjoyment, there are so many places you talk to him!

  9. sleepy_birdie says:

    “This black substance blocks access to certain areas and must be passed through in order to access the final mask.”

    What? That’s not true; I broke all three masks before getting the shade cloak 🙂 There’s a way into Fog Canyon from Fungal Wastes that puts you on the other side of the inky wall thing, Cornifer even comments on having found a way around. That wasn’t just to explain his presence there, you can find it too.

  10. Alex says:

    Thanks for the guide – I’ve tried to avoid using it other than as a pointer for the next general direction to head. I’m 26 hours in, and just heading towards the second mask in Deepnest. So far the Watcher Knights have been the biggest pain in the ass, but I’m currently getting owned by a dream essence fighter thing I stumbled across in Deepnest (not on your map, but it’s near one of the blue glowing bulb things that gives you extra blue hearts). Such an awesome game.

  11. CoolKid says:

    Fuck the Mantis Village

  12. Kat says:

    I have a question, on this guide it says to backtrack to where Hornet was. But there is a passage right above where you get the mantis claw, are you supposed to go there?

  13. war says:

    strange, queen’s garden is not in the guide ….

    • CueWasTaken says:

      queen’s garden is a completely optional part of the game is probably why, this guide isn’t for a 100% completion so it makes sense that its ignored

  14. someone_who_wants_to_know_this: says:

    How do you get to that bench in the picture? I cant find a way there.

  15. Octo Knight says:

    How do you get out of the soul master area after defeating him?

  16. Henry says:

    Hi, I am loving the guide. I am on page 12 and I can’t understand how to follow the map to Isma’s Tear. I am on the passage from King’s Station, the one with the broken elevator down below, and can’t find any opening on walls to follow the path on your map. If anybody could help me..

  17. Headclass says:

    Hello, in the guide number 14, you tell us to go for the first bench in the deepnest. However, the area is blocked. There is no way to go there. What should I do?

    • Headclass says:

      I’m sorry, I meant guide number 13

      • QQxwQQ says:

        For everyone wondering what to do. This seems to be a mistake.

        You can go down to the other bench and then transition one screen to the left and and then go up.
        This way you can reach the bench and follow up the route in the guide.

        • Zarya Stark says:

          Thanks for this! Was wondering what I was doing wrong. Nearly died two times trying to backtrack to find a path to that bench x_x

  18. Konrad says:

    First of all, congratz on a great guide. It helps a lot! I have a question about King’s station stagway. I managed to get there but there’s a bench broken and bell on a ground with no possibilty to activate it. I went far right but I gotto Kingdom’s edge. Did I miss something?

  19. wratih9 says:

    Great job on the guide! I’ve dropped 15 hours into Hollow Knight and the lack of pointing you in the right direction has made the challenge only harder. I’m fighting Soul Master now even though I’ve completed the Royal Waterways, Deepnest, and have explored a lot of the map. I think at just glancing at the order that your guide has the areas will make it much more manageable.

  20. quanta says:

    Great guide. Simple, easy to understand and it allows to head in the right direction while leaving 90% of the content unspoiled for the user to discover. Thank you so much!

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