Game Review #263: Hollow (Nintendo Switch)
Review by: Frankie W
Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Category: Survival Horror
Release Date: 2.22.18
Price (At Time of Review): $19.99
Buy Hollow from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
A Sad State of Affairs
Oh, Hollow, you could have been such a better game. Dear Sweet Hollow, I love Sci-Fi Horror, and yet here we are, in this predicament. Hollow, I know you could be better than this and I am sad, but this is the last time you will hear from me. I tried so hard to like you, but you never tried! Your murky visuals and meandering plot, I saw potential in them but you never realized it and played to your strengths. Hollow, I can’t put any more energy into trying to love you, and this is why.
From the start, you intrigued me. The day you arrived in my inbox, I was immediately into the idea of another “stuck on a space ship with something terrible” idea. Alien is one of my all-time favorite movies, John Carpenter’s The Thing is in my top 3, and Dead Space is one of my favorite survival horror series of the last generation! I love the technobabble, a bunch of made up theories, and crazy environments from a future we don’t have yet. I still have my hopes for an Event Horizon-inspired game, so any time I see a game like you, I’m excited to give it a try! But I couldn’t make out anything due to your murky visuals. Seeing anything in this game is honestly a trial, due to everything either looking the same or being impossible to discern visually. I had too many moments where the objective was in front of my face but I couldn't make it out to count; the visuals are noticeably low resolution.
What is Going On?
The attempt to tell the story of an empty mining vessel that is orbiting around Jupiter that is – surprise, surprise – not actually empty, is pretty boring. The effort put into padding the world out with interesting lore and visuals was lacking; seriously even the monsters all were pretty blah. I find myself in games like this making special efforts to look through the environment, trying to find various codecs, audio logs, and holotapes because I just want to know more about the world, what's in it, and more but… nada. I looked pretty in-depth in the first area and found very little, and what I did find felt like it was a bad translation because a lot of the vernacular was off, or flat out didn’t make sense. I felt like I had to decipher each and everything I read, and I don’t think it was intentional. It felt like a chore and eventually, I stopped caring.
The Things That Mattered
Gameplay?? Honey, you tried but missed the mark. The movement feels like my legs are made from concrete and even the turning speed feels slow. You can “sprint” from what I figure it's supposed to be, but even that has you slogging around at a very annoying pace. I get keeping the physical prowess of the main character in a survival horror game low, but this makes exploration a total pain in the butt, as you spend more time getting to places then exploring destinations if that makes sense. You will be met with a few different nasties as you explore this ship, all of them being spooky body horror stuff.
You will see mutilated bodies, limbs in the wrong spot, and more as you attempt to solve the mystery of this craft, but anytime you see one, you have to wrestle with this game’s combat mechanics to get out of it, where you are going to run into the most problems. The firing is clunky, and ammo is always in short supply not because of it being well-designed to use most of your weapons, but because ammo is so hard to make out due to the visuals. Outside of projectile weapons, you are paying tribute to ole Duke Nukem himself with your boot of justice… just not quite as useful. Getting stuck kicking things is the worst, and it happened to me a few times while I spent time with Hollow.
Letting Go, and Wrapping Up
So there it is Hollow, it just wasn't meant to be. Maybe in another time, another world this could have worked. Higher resolution visuals, a map that didn’t make me want to vomit, less stock sound effects I’ve heard in every game ever, maybe even a song I’d remember as particularly spooky. But you don’t have those; instead, you brought your A-game, but it barely felt like a game at all. I truly wanted to like you, and I gave you every chance in the world to impress me or change my opinion of you. So now, you will fall back into the catalog of games I won’t play again, but I hope one day someone finds you and can love you the way I wanted to love you. But it won’t be me Hollow; I can’t put myself through that.
Buy Hollow from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Forever Entertainment