Video Games

The Hollow

The Hollow | Gamerwife.com

The Hollow Title | The Hollow | Gamerwife.com Full Disclosure: I am very good friends with the writer of this game. That said, everything said in this review is 100% how I feel.

Originally created for the Write A Game Challenge, The Hollow is a spooky fairy tale told as a visual novel. In the story, you take on the role of a huntsman whose child, Molly has disappeared from the brush she was playing in. As the huntsman, you must search the woods for her, meeting curious creatures and facing difficult moral decisions.

Since the joy of a visual novel in in seeing how the plot unfurls and how your choices determine how things will end, I will end my story summary here and focus on the other aspects of The Hollow that make it such a fun little experience. First off I have to highlight the game’s brevity. This makes sense as the game was originally created for a jam/challenge, but I personally really appreciated the sensible half hour experience. The atmosphere created in the opening wasn’t diluted by too many encounters or plot twists and I wasn’t kept up until 2 in the morning waiting to find out what happened.

The Hollow Celest and Molly

The atmosphere I speak of is the result of a brilliant marriage being Tom Martin‘s lyrical writing, the haunting score by Zephyr Nova and the stylish yet familiar art of David Fortin. Each part supports the other beautifully, and while there isn’t any animation to speak of, the art and music bring the characters and setting to life on their own.

Despite being a very linear story, Martin takes care to make sure the choices the player has to make feel weighty and I found myself hesitating a long time before choosing how to behave in many situations. The moral choices he creates really encourage the player to role-play, making the choices feel consequential and personal.

My only real complaint is with the “beeping” noise that accompanies text in the character text box. Although I understand that this sound effect is a standard in the adventure game genre, the mechanical beeps unfortunately pull the player right out of the lovely atmosphere the rest of the game has taken such pains to produce. I understand that the developers are aware of the problem and do plan on fixing it in future builds.

The Hollow is available to play FOR FREE on itch.io.

You Might Also Like

3 Comments

  • Reply
    Fiona
    July 17, 2015 at 4:32 am

    The artwork looks amazing and I think there is definitely something to be said for shorter experience 🙂

  • Reply
    kaycreate
    July 19, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Do you think it would be appropriate for younger kiddos? I love the idea of the storytelling mixed with decision making, and it’s length is just right for introducing it to my daughter. I’ve been looking for some games to play with her and get her intrigued about the world of video gaming!

    • Reply
      Mariko
      July 22, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      It’s not super scary, just spooky, but the moral choices are very… grey… which might put some kids off. Like, there aren’t any “right” choices. You might want to look at something like “The Hole Story” which was made by a bunch of 12 year old girls through Girls Make Games. It’s very girl positive and funny and can be played in episodes.

    Penny for your thoughts...