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While you wait for Hollow Knight: Silksong, try this Kirby-esque Metroidvania

The hero of Biomorph jumps down into a pit of flesh.
Lucid Dreams Studio

It’s been a long few years for Hollow Knight fans. The Metroidvania’s long-awaited sequel, Hollow Knight: Silksong, was announced five years ago. Since then, we’ve barely heard a peep about it outside of one high-profile trailer in 2022 that claimed it would launch within 12 months. That didn’t happen, and we’ve been in the dark ever since. Maybe it’ll surprise drop this year. Maybe we won’t see it until 2025. All we can do is wait.

The only way to fight that excruciating impatience is to play some games that scratch the same itch – and you’re in luck if you need a new game like that. Biomorph is a new 2D Metroidvania that draws some clear inspiration from Hollow Knight. Just look at its moody art style and lead critter hero. Though it might not be as sprawling or secret-loaded as Hollow Knight, there are enough fresh twists here to warrant a playthrough, especially if you need something to stop you from twiddling your thumbs in anticipation.

The structure of Biomorph is immediately familiar. I’m quickly thrown into a dreary world rendered in a cartoon-like 2D art style. I’m given control of a small animal in a spacesuit with pointy ears. Combat and movement aren’t too different from other games in the genre at first. The main mobility twist is that I can press a trigger to turn into a puddle and slide briefly, letting me dash under tight spaces. It all plays smoothly, matching its clean art style.

A character takes aim at a boss in Biomorph.
Lucid Dreams Studio

It’s not long until I find its special hook, though. After defeating an enemy, I learn that I can transform into it and temporarily inherit all of its powers. That idea doesn’t just diversify combat but widens out its Metroidvania hook. Rather than hunting down new tools to unlock new areas, I can solve some problems with the power of biomorphing. One creature will let me plow through sandy walls that are blocking my path. Another lets me swim up water streams. Once I possess a creature enough times, I’m able to take its form anytime so long as I equip it in one of three slots.

It’s a clever idea that calls back to the Metroidvania experiments of Kirby and the Amazing Mirror. Biomorph is thankfully more elegant than that Game Boy Advance title, though, making it easier to hold on to an ability and take it to a far-off piece of the map. It also features some much deeper combat and customization. In addition to my standard slashes, I can equip three extra abilities at once that operate on cooldowns. Each can be made more powerful by spending resources. That, along with my powerful creature abilities, helped me crush some difficult boss fights.

Like Hollow Knight, Biomorph features a sprawling map made up of multiple biomes. Each is loaded with well-hidden secrets, from valuable materials to blueprints that help build more stores in my hub town. Some of those require some clever uses of Biomorph powers to find. For instance, you might need to fully tame a creature that can reveal hidden platforms in order to pull it out of its biome and take it to a far-off room. That makes Biomorph’s world one that completionists will need to experiment with in order to find everything.

A creature explores a 2D space in Biomorph.
Lucid Dreams Studio

That neat hook does a lot of heavy lifting for what is otherwise a fairly straightforward genre game with a flat sci-fi story. The most fun parts are finding new creatures and learning what each one does. Less fun is the heavy backtracking required that’s worsened by some long gaps between checkpoints and repeated Biomorph puzzling that makes it hard to simply blaze through any given area, even with shortcuts unlocked. I’ve yet to finish the full game, but my desire to do so hit a test of fate when I hit one long, horizontal biome that’s as treacherous as it is tedious to navigate. That kind of frustration comes with the genre, but it stands out here with how much the Biomorph system can take some fluidity out of exploration.

Though I’ve had some qualms with it long-term, Biomorph is worth checking out for fans of the genre looking for fresh ideas. And if nothing else, it’s a meaty Metroidvania that’ll help fill the unknowable long gap until Hollow Knight: Silksong finally reemerges from whatever hole it’s in. We might as well play some neat games while we wait.

Biomorph launches on April 5 for PC.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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