[Review] Hollow - Nintendo Switch

Hollow for Nintendo Switch is first person survival horror title with too much horror in the wrong aspects, and not enough where it counts. While it is understandable that some sacrifices had to be made to make the game playable on the Nintendo Switch's somewhat limited hardware when compared to the PC release, this doesn't go very far when you consider how well companies have done on the Nintendo Switch with more demanding games and richer storylines. This actually ended up being a bit of a painful experience for me because it has been one of my most anticipated games for the platform since it was announced, and I even considered that I might be a little more harsh based on that disappointment, but many of my complaints have been echoed elsewhere.

To start off, Hollow throws us into the world of Shakhter-One, a mining vessel that you're on for forgotten reasons with a protagonist that isn't very relatable. You board the ship and discover that it is apparently abandoned, by quickly begin to find dead bodies and strange creatures that want to render you in the same state of living. Dying is something that you will do a lot of, and not just because the game is designed to be difficult in the way that most horror games are. You have limited health and ammo, and your character moves painfully slow. While this is a cliche of the genre intended to build tension and create a sense of urgency, it is dreadfully overdone here.

To further compound the problem, the game is much too dark to really make out much of anything, and even has a layer of grainy haze over the whole experience. Couple that with bland environments and tons of corridors that all look the same, and it's easy to get lost and end up back where you started. The grainy effects and the poor lighting conditions make it harder to find ammo, which usually results in you running around trying to kick the enemies to knock them over and "running" away. The whole experience is rather dreadful.

While there are some intriguing bits of information delivery and found journal story telling, the story itself is hard to be invested in, and feels rather secondary. This is a big problem when the gameplay itself is so stifled by its many limitations. You find yourself not caring about solving the mystery of who and why, and so lose motivation to continue slogging through the thankfully short run time. There is also one interesting puzzle to solve, but it's not enough to redeem much of anything.

If you watch gameplay video of the PC version of Hollow, it has much better graphics that make it easier to navigate the halls and find much needed ammo. If you really want to explore Hollow, I'd recommend picking it up cheap during a Steam sale, but it's even hard to suggest that when there are better alternatives for a horror fix, namely Dead Space. Overall, Hollow just feels like a poorly done port of a mediocre game at best.



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