Hollow Knight's newest mod feels like it should be paid DLC

A piece of fanart of Team Cherry's Hollow Knight, created for the Pale Court DLC, featuring the Hollow Knight itself posed with five white knights behind it.
(Image credit: The Pale Court Team / Team Cherry)

It's been a while since I played Hollow Knight, an awesome 2017 metroidvania from the minds at Team Cherry. It's filled with bugs (in a good way), mysterious halls, overgrown gardens, and gorgeous artwork that somehow makes Hallownest's desolate wastes feel cosy and inviting. I was delighted to discover—with the help of Gamesradar—that the fanmade expansion the Pale Court was finally released at the start of the month.

This mod allows you to do battle with the five knights of Hallownest by using the Dream Nail at specific locations, which is an item you won't be getting until later in the game. That means you'll probably need to sink your mandibles into a full playthrough to experience it yourself, or hope your old save's still kicking about in the cloud.

I recommend going into the Pale Court well-equipped, though, because I brushed off my old save file from 2018 to give it a try, and its bosses are definitely endgame. After stumbling my way through the Royal Waterways, 'Kindly Isma' beat me up and took my lunch geo a dozen times before I threw in the towel.

An image of Kindly Isma, a boss in the Pale Court mod. She is a kindly bug who holds herself with grace, despite being a challenging boss.

(Image credit: The Pale Court Team / Team Cherry)

These bosses are a great meal for Hollow Knight fans who need something to keep themselves busy during the long wait for Silksong, which still doesn't have a release date despite being announced in 2019. I've faith it's going to be massive, but that same ambition has seen the game's release date slip ever-further into the future. 

The art, the music, the voicework—everything is so on-point that it could pass for official DLC. The modders behind The Pale Court nailed the Hollow Knight vibe so well that the transition into these modded areas is completely seamless. Upon entering Isma's arena, I felt like I'd stumbled into some secret corner of the game I'd just missed my first go around. That was before she took a bow and thrashed me to death with her vines.

The Pale Court is an excellent mod that feels like the victory lap Team Cherry—burdened with Silksong's long development—didn't have the time to make. The credits list features over 50 modders who brought this love letter to life. It's a community effort, and even Hollow Knight loremaster Mossbag, whose complete lore summary has a whopping 7 million views on Youtube, is listed as providing voice work. 

The Pale Court is one of those passion projects that happen when a group of fans all lift together, and a great example of why mods are at the heart of PC gaming. Can't stand the wait for Silksong? Have the home-made version in the meantime.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.