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The best games like Hollow Knight to play after you've beaten all those bosses

games like Hollow Knight
(Image credit: Team Cherry)

So you’ve collected every charm, met every quirky NPC in Hallownest and bested every boss, but you still want more Hollow Knight? You could just boot it up from the start again – or you could find other games like Hollow Knight that scratch the same Metroidvania itch. 

Hollow Knight sits top of the modern action-platformer pile but, thankfully, you’ll find many similar games not far below that blend combat, jump puzzles, exploration and story. In this list we’ve collected ten of the best, plus a few honourable mentions: work your way through these and you’ll never lack for a dungeon or two to crawl through. Here are the best games like Hollow Knight for PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Axiom Verge

Available on: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC

A classic Metroidvania with tons of hidden details to find. The aesthetic is a light year from Hollow Knight: you play a scientist called Trace who wakes up in a high-tech world brought to life with a retro art style. But its branching world, and the many walled-off areas that you can only unlock after you find the right item, will make you feel at home.

You’re firing guns, not swinging blades, and they’re all fun to wield. Projectiles range from bouncing bullets to pink blades that spin along any surface they hit. The story is forgettable, but once you get your hands on the Quantum Variegator and the Reverse Slicer (both real weapon names), you’ll quickly forgive a few narrative stumbles.

Ori and the Blind Forest

Available on: Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch

Ori’s world feels less open and complex than Hollow Knight’s, but no less varied and beautiful. Its luscious forests, ruins and caves will keep you wondering what’s ahead, and its focus on platforming over combat – you can eventually wall jump, double jump, super jump, climb and dash – make each section a joy to explore. 

It doesn’t have as many secrets as Hollow Knight, but it has enough to keep you searching every corner, and clever puzzles help break up the pace. Come for the visuals, stay for the tight movement and story, which sees guardian spirit Ori rejuvenate the forest from the game’s title.

Hyper Light Drifter

Available on: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC and iOS.

At first glance, Hyper Light Drifter doesn’t look anything like Hollow Knight: it isn’t even a side-scroller. But if what you loved about Hollow Knight was the enchanting setting, cryptic story and learning enemies’ attack patterns, this should be the next game you play. It’s a difficult action-RPG, and you fight lots of enemies at once with no defensive abilities to speak of, but you’ll accrue lots of weapons and skills to thin the crowd. Combat is fluid when you get a feel for it. 

It has no dialogue or text, so you just have to glean what narrative you can from the environments and music, which gives it an air of mystery. Some players will find it too abstract, but if you enjoyed learning Hollow Knight’s lore then you're sure to enjoy reading into Hyper Light Drifter's visuals.

Guacamelee! 2

Available on: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC.

Guacamelee! 2 is a bright, bold platformer with catchy music, neon luchador masks and more jokes than you can shake your grappling hook at. It’s a mix of arcade beat-em-up and thoughtful platformer in which you flip between two worlds – the living and the dead – on the fly to unveil new routes through one screen, chaining together jumps and dashes to reach your goal. 

It has a sprinkle of Hollow Knight’s exploration, too. You always know where to go, but side quests take you off the main path and you’ll find secrets if you go digging. Some routes are walled behind certain abilities – although it’s always obvious how to get through. Ultimately, the charming world will keep you playing with its humour, video game references, and charismatic NPCs. It even has drop-in, drop-out co-op so you can bash bosses with a friend in tow.

Salt and Sanctuary

Available on: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC

Hollow Knight was partly inspired by Dark Souls, and if it’s more dodge-and-swipe combat you crave then Salt and Sanctuary will satisfy your appetite. It’s a punishing 2D melee game with big bosses and lots of similarities to Hidetaka Miyazaki’s series, right down to the presence of souls (called salt here) and refillable flasks. 

Like in Hollow Knight, it offers plenty of scope to backtrack and explore. If you liked tweaking The Knight’s charms to create new builds then Salt and Sanctuary gives you even more customisation, including picking a starting class. You’ll die a lot, and you might feel like giving up – but don’t. Salt and Sanctuary is worth seeing through to the end. 

La-Mulana 2

Available on: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC

La-Mulana 2’s structure and pace will be instantly familiar if you just finished Hollow Knight: it’s never quite clear which corner of its large, diverse world you’re meant to explore next. You’ll backtrack, solve cryptic clues and chat to the odd eccentric NPC to figure out your next step.

Neither the combat nor platforming is as polished as Hollow Knight, but the detailed world and deep, slowly-unfolding story could easily hold you interest for 60 hours before you even think about reaching the end.

Environmental Station Alpha

Available on: PC

Before Baba Is You creator Arvi Teikari was making brain-bending puzzlers he was building pixel-based space game Environmental Station Alpha, which some people will tell you is the best modern-day Metroidvania ever made, whereas others will say they quit in frustration.

You owe it to yourself to make up your own mind. This abandoned space station is full of side paths, and we like how it leaves you to figure out the lore rather than spoon-feeding you, just like in Hollow Knight. The platforming is smooth – we want its grappling hook in every 2D platformer – and if you don’t like the tough boss fights then you can play on easy mode.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Available on: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC

Legendary developer Koji Igarashi is synonymous with the Castlevania series and his most recent game, the unashamedly old-school Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, is very much in the same mould. It’s a Castelvania game in all but name: the baddie’s fortress is a castle, you can’t attack up or down, and abilities you pick up from downed enemies often add one of their own moves to your arsenal.

Igarashi doesn’t venture out of his comfort zone, but that’s okay: there are plenty of games on this list that tread new ground. Short of booting up 1997’s Symphony of the Night (and you can do just that on PS4 with the Castlevania Requiem collection), Bloodstained is your best glimpse at an era that Hollow Knight owes an awful lot to.

Steamworld Dig 2

 Available on: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC

Steamworld Dig 2 hands you a pickaxe and asks you to carve a route directly downwards to search for the protagonist of the first game. But this seemingly linear goal is soon diluted as you deviate-off path and find caverns, chests and doors leading to self-contained puzzle dungeons.

The first game was procedurally-generated – in this sequel, everything is created by designers, which makes progression more satisfying and logical. As you pick up upgrades, such as a jetpack or a sticky bomb launcher, new paths will organically reveal themselves, and you’ll find even more gold to spend on better items at the surface. The snappy controls round it all off.

Dead Cells

Available on: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC

Dead Cells is arguably the best game on this list, but probably the least like Hollow Knight. Each life is its own run and death resets you to the start. And then you go again, hacking and slashing through levels that remain thematically the same, but in which the layouts change. You progress further and further each time, unlocking item blueprints and spending cells gleaned from enemies on new gear.

You’re not playing for the sense of exploration and backtracking: you’ll find secret sections, but the sequence of biomes is set from the start. What you play Dead Cells for is the punchy combat and responsive platforming, and the way they both change thanks to the skills and items you pick up. It helps that it’s a looker, too.

Honorable mentions

(Image credit: Sabotage Studios)

If you like beautiful 2D environments, try Dust: An Elysian Tale. If you want a more retro feel, but with some surprises, grab the The Messenger, whereas Shadow Complex has a modern military setting and a 2.5D perspective. If you want Hollow Knight but with pinball (yep, you read that right), try Yoku’s Island Express. If you want more of a focus on precise platforming you won’t go wrong with Celeste, and if you want something story-led, try Iconoclasts. It’s Owlboy for floaty platforming above the clouds, Aquaria for underwater adventures, and Rain World if you want a shot of survival game goodness.

Want to know about all the latest releases coming our way? Here are the best new games 2019. 

Sam's gaming PC is literally held together with masking tape, and he bought his PS4 from a friend of a friend of a (dodgy) friend for a tenner. He wishes that games still had paper manuals, mainly so he could get the satisfaction of ignoring them. He grew up in Essex, and now lives in London.