[Top 10] Hollow Knight Best Abilities

Hollow Knight Promotional Art
The real abilities were the bugs we killed along the way

10. World Sense

You collect this ability before you enter battle with the Hollow Knight itself. As such, it isn’t necessary for the game. It’s really only useful for completionists. But if you are a completionist, this is an incredibly useful tool.

  • Lets you see your completion percent
  • Tells you how many bugs you have left in the hunter’s journal
  • Very helpful for completionists

How to Get It

All you have to do to get this ability is read the lore tablet right before the Hollow Knight fight, which basically means beating the game, but I’m not getting into that here.

9. Awoken Dream Nail

The only reason this beats World Sense is that it is required to get a certain ending. Basically, this gives you a few more pieces of dream nail dialogue, and opens the door to the White Palace. Besides that, it is useless.

  • Opens the White Palace
  • Required to get 4 out of 5 of the endings
  • Some extra lore

How to Get It

Collect 1800 Essence and talk to the Seer.

8. Crystal Heart

Don’t get me wrong, this ability is definitely useful. It can help you reach certain areas and dash through whole rooms. But it only has one application and as such can only be used in particular areas, which is why it’s so low on the list.

  • Gives access to new areas
  • Helps travel faster through the world
  • The most cinematic

How to Get It

It can be found at the end of a platforming segment in Crystal Peak.

7.  Isma’s Tear

Again, a situational ability, but this one will save you a few masks in the long run. After collecting this, you can swim through acid like water, opening new paths and new encounters. Unfortunately, it will not protect geo that falls in acid, so make sure you're still catching all those.

  • Never worry about acid again
  • Makes Fog Canyon much safer
  • Will save you a fair number of masks

How to Get It

Located past a Crystal Heart passage in the Royal Water way. You’ll go through some platforming and fighting sections to get it, but it will be much easier to get out once you have it.

6.  Dreamgate

Once more, an ability that has limited usefulness. The Dreamgate allows you to instantly travel back to any location you set it in, which is helpful if you need to return to a location often (like if you are delivering a certain delicate flower). But it is not exactly a robust ability, and when you gain it will depend on how you play and what you prioritize

  • Safely and instantly travel to wherever you set it
  • Can be used any time as long as you can charge it up
  • Helpful when you’re not near a stag station

How to Get It

Collect 900 essence and talk to the Seer

5. Dream Nail

The Dream Nail is a vital part of the game, and unlocks so much extra content. With it you can discover more lore, gain soul faster, and even unlock secret boss battles. Collecting this ability effectively opens up the world of Hollow Knight.

  • Collects three strikes worth of soul in one
  • Lets you read minds and discover more lore
  • Lets you fight spirits
  • Unlocks tougher versions of previous fighters
  • Marks the larger opening of the Hollow Knight game

How to Get It

Find your way to The Resting Place and inspect the Dreamers Statue. They’ll try to lock you away in the dream realm, but the Seer will rescue you. You wake up in her house, and she will give you the dream nail.

4. Mothwing Cloak

Though admittedly simple, the dash this ability gives you is a staple of your move set. Whether it’s getting through a distant platform, dodging a boss, or just moving a little faster, Mothwing has you covered.

  • Helps dodge incoming attacks
  • Lets you get places quickly
  • A must for platforming
  • A core move for all of Hollow Knight

How to Get It

This is the first ability you will collect in the game. You get it after beating Hornet for the first time in Greenpath. And since you basically cannot get anywhere without it, you’ll run into it pretty quickly.

3. Mantis Claw

What is a 2D Metroidvania without a wall jump ability? This should be the second ability you receive in game, and it is essential for traveling the giant world of Hollow Knight. It also comes in handy in boss arenas. Is that boss backing you into a wall? Jump off the wall and over their head!

  • A platforming classic
  • Essential for traveling through the world
  • Helps keep you from getting cornered in boss fights

How to Get It

Travel through the Fungal Wastes until you find yourself in the Mantis Village. There, make your way to the main hub of town, and you’ll find it in a chest.

2. Monarch Wings

And yet another platforming classic: the double jump. The Monarch Wings help you soar through the air like the little insect you are. This not only makes platforming easier, but makes your movement style as a whole more open. You can chain it with dashes, down slashes, and wall jumps to float like… well, a monarch butterfly. Plus, the almost elastic like physics makes it so much fun to use.

  • Another staple of the genre
  • Makes movement more fluid
  • Helpful in platforming and boss battles
  • Physics make it fun to use

How to Get It

After collecting the Crystal Heart, travel down to the Ancient Basin. Defeat the Broken Vessel, and the Monarch Wings will be in the next room.

1. Shade Cloak

Imagine playing Dark Souls with the ability to phase through enemy attacks. That’s what the Shade Cloak does. Essentially an upgrade to it’s Mothwing brother, this cloak is a game changer, allowing you to slip past bosses, barriers, and enemies. You really don’t appreciate how helpful this move is until you start a new game without it and realize you can’t just phase through attacks anymore.

  • All the abilities of the Mothwing Cloak
  • Allows you to phase through enemy attacks
  • Has a charm that will make it do damage
  • Lets you phase pass enemies you don’t want to deal with
  • Changes strategy with bosses entirely

How to Get It

You’ll have to beat Hornet a second time in Kingdom’s Edge and have collected the King’s Brand. Then travel back through the Ancient Basin into the Abyss. Then fight your way into and pass the light house. You’ll come across an entity holding a basin of black fluid. Take a quick bird bath, and now you have the shade cloak.

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