6 Best Games Like Hollow Knight You Should Try Next

best games like hollow knight

Indie games may once have been discounted, but with successes ranging from life simulators like Stardew Valley, top action-adventure games like Hollow Knight, they’re now reigning supreme.

Not only do well-designed indie games attract a fervent following, but they also impress me, and so many others, with their unique design and immersive gameplay.

And now, Hollow Knight is stealing the spotlight. Though, as a 2D adventure game, it has a very certain aesthetic, it’s been declared as “setting the bar for indie games.” Citing the nuanced lore, well-developed kingdom, and signature art style, Hollow Knight, for some, is everything an indie game should be: nuanced in gameplay, expressive in graphics, and a unique experience.

But if you’ve played through Hollow Knight, or like the general idea but want something more, you’re in luck. Hollow Knight is one of many well-designed, 2D adventure indie games, and each comes with its own unique attributes.

Of course, finding the best games like Hollow Knight can prove challenging. While I love that there are so many indie games out there, even in the 2D action-adventure genre, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Consider this your guide to 2D action-adventure games like Hollow Knight, and my top picks for the next game you should play–whether it’s for your gaming laptop or a more modest gaming setup.

What are 2D action-adventure games?

2D action-adventure games are a style of game, almost exclusively indie games, that are defined both by their artistic designs and their gameplay.

Due to the graphics, these games tend to not be too demanding and thus have low requirements for systems and device setups.

2D adventure games are most commonly available for sale on platforms such as Steam and created by small indie developers. While they have much in common, they also have a large degree of unique characteristics, depending on the game.

Typically, they have a finite ending and beginning, as opposed to a more sandbox-like structure of games like Cities: Skylines, or even games like Skyrim: Elder Scrolls IV, which includes a combination of quests and playing on your own.

2D Games

2D games are distinguished from 3D games in their graphics, but often, 2D games often are more suited to certain types of games. 2D games, in general, are more common among independent games vs games from companies such as Electronic Arts or Paradox Interactive.

2D games are not typically as costly to produce, are easier to run on lower-end PCs or consoles, and give the developers more room to create a unique style.

Unity engine is one of the most popular third-party development tools to produce 2D games especially (though it is also used to produce 3D games).

Sprites, or flare graphics, are used and typically drawn. This hand-drawn appearance means there is less dimension of perspective, but that these games also tend to have more unique, and almost personal feeling environments.

In addition to Hollow Night, Children of Morta is another example of a game that uses 2D graphics. Interestingly enough, there is also an in-between graphics style. 2.5 D graphics consist of games that still operate within a two-dimensional plane but have special characteristics meant to enhance the environment to appear more dimensional and realistic.

Not as demanding as 3D, 2.5 D graphics are a great compromise between the two and will give you a unique experience while feeling a tad more lifelike than 2D graphics.

Action-Adventure Games

Action-adventure games are within a rather broad range and can vary greatly depending on the game. As the name suggests, action-adventure games like Hollow Knight combine elements of the action genre, with those in the adventure genre, and the balance of action-driven gameplay can also vary.

Action-only games generally focus on fast reflexes and reactions and are propelled not through strategy, but quick controls. Action games may or may not have much of a backdrop, and are particularly likely to include fighting and combat-based play.

Adventure games, meanwhile, are set within a context that requires players to plan and solve problems or puzzles. Though not inherently story-driven, adventure games do require one to explore and engage more in their environment than action-only games.

Action-adventure games, thus, combine a blend of quick actions with puzzles or some sort of problem-solving. There are many more specific classifications of action-adventure games, including but not limited to: stealth games like Assassin’s Creed; survival games like The Last of Us; puzzle games like Castlevania; and first or third person adventure games, like the Grand Theft Auto series.

Indie Games

Finally, it’s important to note that Hollow Knight is considered an indie game– and while almost all gamers are familiar with the term, it’s important to think about what it means for the game.

While there is no formal definition for indie games, the general understanding is that indie games are any game not published by a large, traditional game publisher.

They are most well known for their artistic expression, and, at times, innovation. Often initially published on a lower budget, there have been breakout successes in the indie game industries, with everything from farming simulation games like Stardew Valley, to action-adventure games like Hollow Knight (which, as of this writing), has sold over 3 million copies.

Indie games have gained support, especially as some of the larger gaming companies are consolidating, and some are longing for a game that feels more unique.

Indie games are sometimes self-funded, but also funded through community donations, through resources like Patreon. I myself am a Patreon member for an indie life simulation game that’s currently being developed. Indie games, as we see like Hollow Knight, can truly be a breath of fresh air into the gaming industry and engage a whole community of avid supporters.

Loved Hollow Night? Play these Next

If you loved Hollow Night and are in search of action-adventure 2D or 2.5 D games with a lot of spunk, plenty of gameplay, and immersive experiences, there are some great options.

All of these games are either well rated, well designed, up and coming, and, in many cases, all of the above. Consider this your list of games to look at after Hollow Night– and you’ll be backing in your gaming chair in no time.

Best Quest-Like: Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler

Described as ‘fascinating and beautiful’ by Gamestop, and earning critical ratings of 8 to 9 out of 10, Octopath Traveler is a spirited, beautifully designed indie action-adventure game that does a lot of things right. It blends in the RPG genre, allowing you to take on one of 8 different character roles, with 8 unique adventures, all complete with side quests.

The world of Orsterra includes unique regions, challenges, and bursts of adventure. While the characters are more nuanced than you’d expect, with their individual skills and stories, there’s plenty of combat and mystery to please Hollow Knight fans, as well.

2D characters are set within a dimensional world full of color, effects, and liveliness that makes playing all that more enjoyable.

Rating/ Requirements and Other Details

System requirements include a 64-bit processor and 4 GB of RAM. It’s rated Teen and includes subtitles for French, Italian, German, English, and Spanish as well as full English audio.

Best Direct Alternative: Shovel Knight: Treasure Cove

shovel knight

Sure, it may have a knight in the name, but that’s from the only–or even main reason– you should give this indie action-adventure game a try if you like Hollow Knight.

Highly rated by IGN, Polygon, and other professional gaming news outlets, Shovel Knight is a bright, exciting, and fast-paced game with much to explore. I especially recommend this game if you love retro or classic designs. You play as the title character, the Shovel Knight, racing and battling to find a loved one.

You’ll encounter plenty of obstacles, as well as the enigmatic Enchantress on your main quest. Beyond the main quest, Shovel Knight also includes four other games, where you can play as the King Knight, Plague Night, and Specter Night. You can even battle with others– up to four players total at a time.

Add in the different modes of gameplay: challenge, the showdown, and body swap– and you have entertainment for hours on end.

Rating/ Requirements and Other Details

Shovel Knight is rated E for everyone and requires a Windows 7 or later, with just 2 GB of RAM. In addition to full English, the game includes French, Italian, German, and Spanish subtitles.

Best Puzzle-Based: Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince

the nightmare prince

Don’t let the fact that this game is the fourth rendition turn you off. Anyone can easily pick up Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince and enjoy this expressive, indie action-adventure game.

At first glance, I was captured by the graphics, and reviewers agree: IGN described Trine 4 as “One of the most gorgeous looking 2.5D games of 2019,” and it may very well be still one of the most stunning headings into 2021.

Praised for the intricate puzzles, fantasy world, and nuanced problem-solving situations, there’s plenty to enjoy in this fantastical adventure.

You’ll play along with heroes of the previous games, with a fairly intriguing story backdrop, as you navigate 2.5 D worlds full of runs, forests, groves, and more. I also love the advanced skill tree system, fast action combat, and even the option to play multiplayer online.

Rating/ Requirements and Other Details

A 64-bit processor with 4GB of RAM is recommended for best performance. The game is rated E for everyone, and includes a soundtrack, full English, and subtitles for Italian, Spanish, French, and German, as well as English.

Best Story-Based: Ori and the Blind Forest

ori and the blind forest

If you’re looking for a 2D action-adventure game with more of a storyline, I recommend Ori and the Blind Forest. The concept of the game surrounds the events in the wake of a storm, where you, as the hero, must find your way back home.

I love the hand-painted look, as well as the attention to detail for players and settings. Like Hollow Knight, it enjoys positive reviews, and, for an indie game, has an impressive over 38,000 ratings on Steam alone. Dramatic scenes with intense colors power you through the gameplay, for an imaginative journey that has some emotion to its core.

Rating/ Requirements and Other Details

You’ll need to have a Windows 7 or higher operating system, with 4GB of ram. Ori and the Blind Forest is rated E for everyone, and includes full language support and subtitles for English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German.

Best Low Demand: Kingdom Rush Origins- Tower Defense

kingdom rush origins

Take a step back to classic games, with this whimsical action-adventure in Kingdom Rush Origins-Tower Defense. The third in the Kingdom Rush Series, you can easily step into this acclaimed game even if you’re new.

You’re tasked with an army of elves as you combat sea creators, spell casters, and other foes–perfect for those who like a slightly more action pack take, but have the mystical and whimsical feel of Hollow Knight.

The world includes towers, ruins, magic realms, and forests. Different achievement levels and gameplay modes (classic, iron and heroic) make this game replayable, and great for different levels of difficulty.

It also includes problem-solving on your part, as you’ll need to look up details about your enemies to strategize how best to triumph and conquer. Meanwhile, expansions help broaden your experience. I also like that it gets updates, to ensure gameplay stays both fresh and running smoothly.

Rating/ Requirements and Other Details

Windows 7, Mac OS X, and Linux can all be used. With a requirement of just 1 GB Ram, this is one of the least demanding games you can buy anywhere. It’s rated available in a full English interface, with subtitles for English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.

Best for Exploration: Noita


Noita rounds out my list for the best games like Hollow Knight, and well deserves its spot, especially for how much there is to explore. Due to procedural programming, the world continues to deepen as you explore, lending a sense of mystery and excitement. In fact, each time you play, you’ll get a new experience– which is excellent for replay value.

The magical action-adventure game includes explosive fighting actions, spellcasting, and plenty of exploration. I love the range of terrain you’ll uncover, from coal mines to frigid lands and everything in between.

Noita is also regularly updated, with one as recent as the end of last year, and enjoys exceptionally positive reviews from players.

Rating/ Requirements and Other Details

System requirements include Windows 7 minimum, as well as a recommended 4 GB of RAM. Noita doesn’t have subtitles, but does include full language support for English, French, Spanish, German, and Italian.


Question: Is Hollow Knight hard?

Answer: Hollow Knight is not the most challenging game of its kind, but it does have different difficulty levels. You can customize your combat methods, and you can tweak how you play with other options. While presenting a fair challenge, it isn’t as difficult as some games in the action-adventure genre.

Question: Is Hollow Knight or Dark Souls harder?

Answer: Compared with Hollow Knight, Dark Souls is considered an overall more difficult game, and may be another good option for games like Hollow Knight. The only times Hollow Knight could be seen as just as, or more difficult than Dark Souls, is perhaps a few moments of quick action.

Question: Is Hollow Knight kid-friendly?

Hollow Knight is rated E for everyone and is generally friendly for older kids. You won’t find much graphic or frightening scenes that are too much for a 10-year-old, but, of course, there are some quick/ fast action bits of cartoon violence. Note though, that your enemies are not other humans. Overall, Hollow Knight is safely kid-friendly.

Question: How many hours of gameplay does Hollow Knight have?

Answer: One reason for Hollow Knight’s popularity is that, for its genre, it offers a fairly generous amount of gameplay. The average player will likely get around 40 hours of gameplay for one play-through, and some may find it enjoyable enough to play a second time.

Final Thoughts

Hollow Knight may have captivated many, but there are great games like it. Looking for more great indie games? Here are the 20 Best Games Like Terraria.

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